“Jackson Was Not A Noteworthy Female Poet, But Simply A

1080 words - 4 pages

"Jackson was not a noteworthy female poet, but simply a noteworthy poet." Ralph Waldo Emerson Jackson is one of the most interesting persons of her time. Born in 1831 she led a very interesting, yet equally sad life. Jackson's father, a stern congregational minister /author/ professor, died just three years after his wife Debrah. Debra's writing skills seemed to be passed down to her daughter even though Helen claimed, "I inherited nothing from either of my parents except my mother's gift for cheer." Undoubtedly her parents deaths in her tender youth caused some mental anguish.However death was never far away from Jackson. Her two brothers both died at infancy. This left her alone in the world, besides her sister Anne and her Aunt. In 1852 Jackson married Edward Hunt, brother of the former New York State governor. While married she had her first kid Murray. Murray died of brain disease when he was less than a year old.When Jackson was pregnant again, her husband suffocated in a underwater naval vessel of his own design.. Two years after her husband's death her second child died of diphtheria. Alone in the world, Jackson moved back to Newport, Rhode Island where she met back up with her childhood friend Emily Dickinson. Jackson then began seriously taking up her writing career in hopes of spurring social and political activism. Upset about the ways the Native Americans were being treated, Jackson began writing books about the Native Americans.When she moved to California, to learn more about these Native Americans, she met William Jackson and remarried. A fractured leg left Jackson crippled, which only inspired her further, until in 1885, cancer claimed her life. This life of pain and suffering added deeply to Jackson's literature. Helen Jackson soaked up her experiences in life and channeled them through her work with the two themes of the suffering of the Native Americans and the death of a loved one. The poems this is present in are, "Danger", "Esther", "Unto one who lies at rest", and, "The Prince is Dead". In Helen's life there was a point where she took a visit to Boston and, "attended a translated lecture by Chief Standing Bear about the federal governments forcible removal of the Ponca Indians from their Nebraska reservation to Indian Territory." This speech moved Jackson to become a relentless crusader for the tribes that were left. This experience led Jackson to write, "Danger." In this poem Jackson chooses to personify fear in the line, "Fear seeks for safety, reckons up the days of danger and escape, the hours and ways of death; it breathless flies the pestilence; if walls itself in towers of defense; by land, by sea, against the storm it lays down barriers; then, comforted, it says: 'This spot, this hour is safe,' Oh vain pretence." Her purpose in doing this was to show how the Native Americans sought safety in the governments' flimsy contracts in land negotiation. This personification is made vividly clear by Jackson...

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