Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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The homoerotic relationship is one of the major themes in Emily Dickinson's poetry. Critics have constantly looked for evidence of homoeroticism in the poet's life and work. In this essay, I argue that feminist psychoanalysis, particularly theories of the mother-daughter relationship, is useful to an understanding of the homoerotic in Dickinson's poems. In her rereading of psychoanalytical theories, Nancy Chodorow emphasizes the symbiotic relationship between the mother and daughter and the daughter?s marginal position within the symbolic order. Chodorow's theoretical framework has been applied to the analysis of female writers, including Dickinson, who write from the position of the daughter. In "The Parable of the Cave," Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar narrate the myth told by Mary Shelley about her search for a literary foremother, the Sibyl, from whom Shelley derived her creative power. Dickinson's poetry, similar to the parable told by Shelley, depicts a speaker who is alienated from the patriarchal world of law and order and is looking for the lost mother world usually personified by nature. For Dickinson, the recovery of Eden or the female utopia is significant not only for her female self-affirmation but also in her assertion as a female author. Within the body growing as a graft, indomitable, There is an other.-Julia Kristeva, Desire in Language Ourself behind ourself, concealed- Should startle most.-Emily Dickinson, poem #670

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