Download Full Text (733 KB)

Streaming Media


Emily Dickinson is known for her willingness to speak out about her beliefs even when they went against the social norm. In this presentation we will look at the poem "This World Is Not Conclusion" and the collection of poems surrounding it. The question that we will address with these poems is how does Emily Dickinson invite her audience to follow a religious journey? Dickinson's faith continually evolves undulating back and forth between faith and skepticism. In This World Is Not Conclusion, Dickinson shows what the religious pathway looks like, as the poem speaks of a desire for faith and then grows onto more questions and skepticism without end. This paper will look at how Dickinson shows the moments of faith and moments of skepticism. We will also address how Dickinson refused to conform to religious rhetoric and how that impacted her ability to help other people on their religious journey. During the 1800s, religious membership required one to publicly bear testimony to the public. Dickinson's attitudes of lack of conformity are evident through her decisions to forgo publication of her work. The culture of conformity in her society resulted in her private religious worship. The surrounding poems of one of Emily Dickinson's collections of poems lead to further understanding of the different steps and aspects in the journey of faith. Poem 1 tells of the beauty of faith. Poem 2 looks at the draw of temptation. Poem 3 mentions the hope that faith brings in times of fear. With all of these poems brought together individuals can look for specific insights to the journey of faith and how they interact together. People also learn just how valuable this journey is and that it is worth the cost of going down that road.


Utah State University

Publication Date



English Language and Literature

Emily Dickinson as a Spiritual Guide