If he borrowed his ideas, he failed her test of character. There were to be no pieties between them, and when she detected his own reliance on conventional wisdom, she used her language to challenge what he had left unquestioned. In her letters to Austin in the early s, while he was teaching and in the mid s during his three years as a law student at Harvard, she presented herself as a keen critic, using extravagant praise to invite him to question the worth of his own perceptions.
She positioned herself as a spur to his ambition, readily reminding him of her own work when she wondered about the extent of his. Not only did he return to his hometown, but he also joined his father in his law practice. He too became the citizen of Amherst, treasurer of the College, and chairman of the Cattle Show. Born just nine days after Dickinson, Susan Gilbert entered a profoundly different world from the one she would one day share with her sister-in-law.
The daughter of a tavern keeper, Sue was born at the margins of Amherst society. Had her father lived, Sue might never have moved from the world of the working class to the world of educated lawyers.
They returned periodically to Amherst to visit their older married sister, Harriet Gilbert Cutler. Sue, however, returned to Amherst to live and attend school in Enrolled at Amherst Academy while Dickinson was at Mount Holyoke, Sue was gradually included in the Dickinson circle of friends by way of her sister Martha. She took a teaching position in Baltimore in On the eve of her departure, Amherst was in the midst of a religious revival. The community was galvanized by the strong preaching of both its regular and its visiting ministers.
The Dickinson household was memorably affected. By the end of the revival, two more of the family members counted themselves among the saved: Edward Dickinson joined the church on 11 August , the day that Susan Gilbert also became one of the fold. Vinnie Dickinson delayed some months longer, until November. Austin Dickinson waited several more years, joining the church in , the year of his marriage.
The other daughter never made that profession of faith. But unlike their Puritan predecessors, the members of this generation moved with greater freedom between the latter two categories. While God would not simply choose those who chose themselves, he also would only make his choice from those present and accounted for—thus, the importance of church attendance as well as the centrality of religious self-examination. Revivals guaranteed that both would be inescapable. In her scheme of redemption, salvation depended upon freedom.
Christ is calling everyone here, all my companions have answered, even my darling Vinnie believes she loves, and trusts him, and I am standing alone in rebellion, and growing very careless. I wonder if it is? Within those ten years she defined what was incontrovertibly precious to her. Not religion, but poetry; not the vehicle reduced to its tenor, but the process of making metaphor and watching the meaning emerge. As early as her letters suggest that her mind was turning over the possibility of her own work.
She described the winter as one long dream from which she had not yet awakened. Her letters of the period are frequent and long. Their heightened language provided working space for herself as writer. In these passionate letters to her female friends, she tried out different voices. At times she sounded like the female protagonist from a contemporary novel; at times, she was the narrator who chastises her characters for their failure to see beyond complicated circumstances. Lacking the letters written to Dickinson, readers cannot know whether the language of her friends matched her own, but the freedom with which Dickinson wrote to Humphrey and to Fowler suggests that their own responses encouraged hers.
Perhaps this sense of encouragement was nowhere stronger than with Gilbert. Although little is known of their early relations, the letters written to Gilbert while she was teaching at Baltimore speak with a kind of hope for a shared perspective, if not a shared vocation. Recent critics have speculated that Gilbert, like Dickinson, thought of herself as a poet. She sent Gilbert more than of her poems. Gilbert may well have read most of the poems that Dickinson wrote. In many cases the poems were written for her. They functioned as letters, with perhaps an additional line of greeting or closing.
In there had been some minor argument, perhaps about religion. In the mid s a more serious break occurred, one that was healed, yet one that marked a change in the nature of the relationship. Critics have speculated about its connection with religion, with Austin Dickinson, with poetry, with their own love for each other. The nature of that love has been much debated: Her words are the declarations of a lover, but such language is not unique to the letters to Gilbert. It appears in the correspondence with Fowler and Humphrey.
Visions of Gender in Victorian America , the passionate nature of female friendships is something the late 20th century was little prepared to understand. Modern categories of sexual relations, finally, do not fit neatly with the verbal record of the 19th century. From her own housework as dutiful daughter, she had seen how secondary her own work became. In her observation of married women, her mother not excluded, she saw the failing health, the unmet demands, the absenting of self that was part of the husband-wife relationship.
That remains to be discovered—too late—by the wife. Rather, that bond belongs to another relationship, one that clearly she broached with Gilbert. Defined by an illuminating aim, it is particular to its holder, yet shared deeply with another. Dickinson represents her own position, and in turn asks Gilbert whether such a perspective is not also hers: As Dickinson had predicted, their paths diverged, but the letters and poems continued.
The letters grow more cryptic, aphorism defining the distance between them. The s marked a shift in her friendships. As her school friends married, she sought new companions. Defined by the written word, they divided between the known correspondent and the admired author. No new source of companionship for Dickinson, her books were primary voices behind her own writing. Regardless of the reading endorsed by the master in the academy or the father in the house, Dickinson read widely among the contemporary authors on both sides of the Atlantic.
With a knowledge-bound sentence that suggested she knew more than she revealed, she claimed not to have read Whitman. Her contemporaries gave Dickinson a kind of currency for her own writing, but commanding equal ground were the Bible and Shakespeare. Included in these epistolary conversations were her actual correspondents. Their number was growing. In two cases, the individuals were editors; later generations have wondered whether Dickinson saw Samuel Bowles and Josiah Holland as men who were likely to help her poetry into print.
Bowles was chief editor of the Springfield Republican; Holland joined him in those duties in With both men Dickinson forwarded a lively correspondence. She readily declared her love to him; yet, as readily declared that love to his wife, Mary. In each she hoped to find an answering spirit, and from each she settled on different conclusions.
Josiah Holland never elicited declarations of love. When she wrote to him, she wrote primarily to his wife. In contrast to the friends who married, Mary Holland became a sister she did not have to forfeit. These friendships were in their early moments in when Edward Dickinson took up residence in Washington as he entered what he hoped would be the first of many terms in Congress. In after one such visit, the sisters stopped in Philadelphia on their return to Amherst. Staying with their Amherst friend Eliza Coleman, they likely attended church with her. The minister in the pulpit was Charles Wadsworth, renowned for his preaching and pastoral care.
Dickinson found herself interested in both. The content of those letters is unknown. That Dickinson felt the need to send them under the covering hand of Holland suggests an intimacy critics have long puzzled over. As with Susan Dickinson, the question of relationship seems finally irreducible to familiar terms. The only surviving letter written by Wadsworth to Dickinson dates from Believe me, be what it may, you have all my sympathy, and my constant, earnest prayers. Edward Dickinson did not win reelection and thus turned his attention to his Amherst residence after his defeat in November He also returned his family to the Homestead.
Emily Dickinson had been born in that house; the Dickinsons had resided there for the first ten years of her life. It was not, however, a solitary house but increasingly became defined by its proximity to the house next door. Austin Dickinson and Susan Gilbert married in July They settled in the Evergreens, the house newly built down the path from the Homestead.
For Dickinson, the next years were both powerful and difficult. Her letters reflect the centrality of friendship in her life. There were also the losses through marriage and the mirror of loss, departure from Amherst. Her approach forged a particular kind of connection. In these years, she turned increasingly to the cryptic style that came to define her writing. The letters are rich in aphorism and dense with allusion. She asks her reader to complete the connection her words only imply—to round out the context from which the allusion is taken, to take the part and imagine a whole.
Through her letters, Dickinson reminds her correspondents that their broken worlds are not a mere chaos of fragments.
Behind the seeming fragments of her short statements lies the invitation to remember the world in which each correspondent shares a certain and rich knowledge with the other. They alone know the extent of their connections; the friendship has given them the experiences peculiar to the relation. At the same time that Dickinson was celebrating friendship, she was also limiting the amount of daily time she spent with other people. The visiting alone was so time-consuming as to be prohibitive in itself.
As she turned her attention to writing, she gradually eased out of the countless rounds of social calls. Sometime in she began organizing her poems into distinct groupings. By Dickinson had written more than poems. At the same time, she pursued an active correspondence with many individuals.
It was focused and uninterrupted. Other callers would not intrude. Foremost, it meant an active engagement in the art of writing. If Dickinson began her letters as a kind of literary apprenticeship, using them to hone her skills of expression, she turned practice into performance. The genre offered ample opportunity for the play of meaning. By the late s the poems as well as the letters begin to speak with their own distinct voice.
They shift from the early lush language of the s valentines to their signature economy of expression. The poems dated to already carry the familiar metric pattern of the hymn. Her poems followed both the cadence and the rhythm of the hymn form she adopted. This form was fertile ground for her poetic exploration. Through its faithful predictability, she could play content off against form. While certain lines accord with their place in the hymn—either leading the reader to the next line or drawing a thought to its conclusion—the poems are as likely to upend the structure so that the expected moment of cadence includes the words that speak the greatest ambiguity.
In the following poem, the hymn meter is respected until the last line. A poem built from biblical quotations, it undermines their certainty through both rhythm and image. In the first stanza Dickinson breaks lines one and three with her asides to the implied listener. The poem is figured as a conversation about who enters Heaven. She places the reader in a world of commodity with its brokers and discounts, its dividends and costs. The neat financial transaction ends on a note of incompleteness created by rhythm, sound, and definition. The final line is truncated to a single iamb, the final word ends with an open double s sound, and the word itself describes uncertainty:.
By she had written nearly 1, poems. Her own stated ambitions are cryptic and contradictory. In contrast to joining the church, she joined the ranks of the writers, a potentially suspect group. Distrust, however, extended only to certain types. Did she pursue the friendships with Bowles and Holland in the hope that these editors would help her poetry into print?
Her April letter to the well-known literary figure Thomas Wentworth Higginson certainly suggests a particular answer. She sent him four poems, one of which she had worked over several times. Her accompanying letter, however, does not speak the language of publication. It decidedly asks for his estimate; yet, at the same time it couches the request in terms far different from the vocabulary of the literary marketplace:. Should you think it breathed—and had you the leisure to tell me, I should feel quick gratitude—.
If I make the mistake—that you dared to tell me—would give me sincerer honor—toward you—. In a letter to Atlantic Monthly editor James T.
Fields, Higginson complained about the response to his article: The brave cover of profound disappointment? The accurate rendering of her own ambition? Sometime in she wrote her often-quoted poem about publication with its disparaging remarks about reducing expression to a market value. In the same letter to Higginson in which she eschews publication, she also asserts her identity as a poet.
As she reworked the second stanza again, and yet again, she indicated a future that did not preclude publication. Again, the frame of reference is omitted. The only evidence is the few poems published in the s and s and a single poem published in the s. Given this was a young adult novel, I didn't expect it to be graphic, violent or truly horrific which is why I went into it expecting more light-hearted fiction -- and that's what I got. Nothing too clever or deep, but it did make me sad a few times. The characters are basic, the plot typical for this type of novel.
The science of it all could be valid; I'm not exactly sure what I'd expect t I'm all for the "survival of the fittest when tragedy strikes" novels. The science of it all could be valid; I'm not exactly sure what I'd expect to happen if an asteroid hit the moon and caused it to completely change the climate of the earth. Good description of the new type of snow and lack of sunlight. What I hoped we got more of was the impact on the rest of the country.
I get that the point of the book is what specifically happens to this one family, but the author just throws out most of the eastern seaboard is washed away and hundreds of thousands of people died. I would have expected millions to die in NYC alone since the impact took all of 5 minutes -- no one had time to run for cover.
I want to know what happens to the country as a whole In the end, I find myself wanting to see what happens to the family in the next book so the author has done well! Die Idee hinter der Geschichte fand ich toll, was daraus gemacht wurde aber nicht. I warn you, this is going to make me sound a little odd, if not insane: I read this book in bed, on the way to work, whenever I had free time. Damn those volcanic ash clouds blocking the sun. What would be like to bring back cars full of tinned and jarred food?
I need to remember to st I warn you, this is going to make me sound a little odd, if not insane: I need to remember to stock up on chocolate. I felt so completely absorbed in this novel that I actually felt like it was happening to me. I was so disengaged with the events happening in The Road, which meant that it had less of an impact on me, whereas Life As We Knew is about a family struggling to cope after a meteor crashes into the moon, causing the orbit to be altered.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can see why it has received so much praise. Another genre to love. Dystopian or Not Dystopian? Not Dystopian I also reviewed this book over on Pretty Books. View all 7 comments. Jul 09, Rachel Ann rated it did not like it. I don't usually give 1 star unless I really hated the book. I really hated this book.
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I picked this one up at Barnes And Noble last summer in the hopes of finding another book I really loved, but unfortunately that was not the case. The most important part of an end-of-the-world thriller, in my opinion, is it's ability to make you think that it could actually happen. I found Pfeffer's story of the moon being knocked out of orbit I don't usually give 1 star unless I really hated the book.
I found Pfeffer's story of the moon being knocked out of orbit so far-fetched that I could barely believe it from the very beginning. My second problem with this book were the characters. We get to meet Miranda, the spoiled girl who gripes because her mother won't let her eat whatever she wants.
We hear the whole story from her POV. Then there's her mother, who constantly attacks George W. Bush, refuses to watch Fox News even though it's the end of the world and CNN lost its news feed, and constantly drills into her children that they aren't to help anyone. Miranda's little brother manages to go to baseball camp despite everything that's happening. One of Miranda's friends refuses to eat because she believes that "God will provide for her". And that's how everyone religious is portrayed in the book. I feel like Pfeffer's voice and opinions were coming through her characters, making them shallow and unbelievable.
The volcano in Yellowstone park erupts, but yet nothing happens except a little ash. Tsunamis are threatening the entire coast, the death rate is rising, but yet Miranda's older brother and pregnant girlfriend manage to make it safely to their house. Miranda wanders the streets but never once gets mugged or even close to it. A dangerous virus rages, killing almost everyone who contracts it. Everyone in Miranda's family gets it except her, but yet no one dies. The electricity flickers on at random times, and with it, the internet magically works.
Even when the electricity is off, they have running water. It appears that Pfeffer didn't even research anything the slightest amount. The story gets increasingly dull in the middle.
Page after page after page of Miranda and her family living in their sunroom, surviving with nothing at all happening. I almost stopped reading then, but I still had hopes that maybe, just maybe, the book would redeem itself at the end. Miranda's family had finally run out of food, and she was walking the streets, expecting to die. But to her luck, she makes her way to the city hall. We've already been told that crops aren't making it, the food supplies are dwindling, and basically, there's nothing left. But lo and behold, the city hall is giving out a bag of food every Monday!
Now where did this food come from? This is only one mystery of Pfeffer's failed dystopian world. View all 17 comments. Sep 22, Tink Magoo is bad at reviews rated it really liked it Shelves: I need to buy a bunker in Alaska or something. View all 5 comments. This is one of the most psychologically terrifying books I've ever read, and I think that's because of its hyper-realism.
I don't know if I'd class this as dystopian. I think I'd class this as a survival tale. And a terrifying one at that. It's a smooth progression from a completely normal situation to a freakish horror scenario. Miranda's world progresses so slowly, so smoothly, that it's hard to even realize how nightmarish her life has become.
Don't expect any jump scares, or explicitly scary This is one of the most psychologically terrifying books I've ever read, and I think that's because of its hyper-realism. Don't expect any jump scares, or explicitly scary scenes, yet the whole book is terrifying. The focus is all on showing and not on telling.
And Miranda's character arc? She grows from a very naive and downright dreamy kid to an incredibly mature kid, and you barely notice. Again, the showing and not telling is the main strength of the book. Honestly, I read this book too long ago to really get everything, but I think you can get anything you want from this review. Blog Goodreads Twitter Youtube View all 4 comments. Jul 02, Amber rated it really liked it Shelves: For someone who doesn't always like YA, I really liked this book.
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It wasn't because of the writing style which was simple , it was because the plot was so engaging. This post-apocalypic book gave me the heebie jeebies big time. I mean maybe the specific catastrophe of a asteroid crashing into the moon and pushing it much closer to Earth is far fetched, but any kind of disaster could hap For someone who doesn't always like YA, I really liked this book. I mean maybe the specific catastrophe of a asteroid crashing into the moon and pushing it much closer to Earth is far fetched, but any kind of disaster could happen that would leave us trying to get by without the comforts of our thermostat, supermarket, gas stations, etc.
This book is told through the diary entries of a teenage girl who lives in Philadelphia. Her family struggles to get by and bit by bit things get worse. It was scary seeing their reality and wondering if it will ever come to that for us in real life. I thought the character of Miranda was pretty believable in her capabilities and mood swings.
The pacing of the book was spot on for building suspense and tension. There were a few plot holes, but I had to overlook that because not many books make me want to turn into one of those crazy dooms day prepper people who hoard food in their basements and learn secret languages. View all 6 comments. This one has been so popular with the sixth graders I actually snagged it from the "return" box so I could finally read it!
- Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors, #1) by Susan Beth Pfeffer.
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What a strange, depressing-yet-hopeful story about a family's struggle to survive after the moon is knocked out of its orbit and closer to Earth. It is definitely a page-turner, but I would also find myself kind of down after reading it. The one thing that bothers me about this book is that Christianity is portrayed in a horrible way. The main character Miranda has a best This one has been so popular with the sixth graders I actually snagged it from the "return" box so I could finally read it!
The main character Miranda has a best friend Megan who has "changed" since she became a Christian. As the story unfolds, you see Megan behaving like a Christian, but spouting a pharisitical, self-depricating version of Christianity. She eventually starves herself to death, deciding it would be better to be in heaven. Miranda says many times to Megan, "I hate your god. So while I was sad that Christianity was shown in this light, I don't recognize the God we serve in that story. Kind of wary about putting this one back on the shelf for sixth graders, due to that issue as well as profanity and a few indirect sexual references.
But the librarian recommended it to them and they love it. View all 18 comments. Nov 14, Juli rated it really liked it Shelves: Life on Earth changes suddenly for humanity when a large asteroid strikes the moon, knocking it closer to the planet. The tides change, weather gets more violent, and volcanoes begin erupting.
One day year old Miranda is a typical teenager What would happen if society ended? Miranda keeps a daily diary about what happens after the abrupt end of modern society. I Life on Earth changes suddenly for humanity when a large asteroid strikes the moon, knocking it closer to the planet. I enjoy dystopian stories and disaster movies, so I knew I would like this series. There's always a but, isn't there It is not possible for an asteroid to strike the moon and knock it closer to the planet earth.
I looked up multiple scientific articles on it written by astronomers, scientists, astrophysicists Even if an asteroid measuring miles across hit the moon, it would not alter its orbit. It would just add another huge crater to its surface.
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It would take a moon-sized object hitting the moon to have a big enough effect on it to wobble it even just a little bit out of its current path The logical side of my brain had a difficult time engaging with this story at first while it was mulling over the moon strike scenario. I had to put the book down, look up the facts and sift through a lot of science before I could return to the story. In the end, the impossible or highly improbable nature of the disaster itself did not hurt my enjoyment of this book.
The real impact of the plot is not about what would happen on Earth if the moon was in a closer orbit What would happen in the months and years following an extinction level event? And how would a family deal with surviving surrounded by constant danger, death and uncertainty? This book paints a very real picture of what daily life could become following such an event. Miranda learns quickly about death, starvation, sickness, uncertainty, natural dangers, and loneliness.
Things we take for granted now would be of greater significance in a world where modern society no longer exists.
The series is written for the Young Adult audience so there is no graphic sex, violence or grisly death scenes. But, Pfeffer pulls no punches. Death, illness and human frailty are at the forefront of this story. I wouldn't recommend this series for kids under The theme would be a bit too much for younger kids. There is no miraculous happy ending offered, or sweet love story to cover up the stark horrors.
This isn't that sort of YA story I found myself thinking about how my family would react to a similar incident. And, what would happen in the small town I live in if we were all suddenly cut off from modern conveniences and society? Would we all band together to survive? Or would things rapidly descend into violence? I hope I never have to find out. Life As We Knew It is a story about love and hope in a time where all hope seems lost. So despite the disaster itself being far-fetched, I found myself completely lost in this story.
I couldn't put the book down and stayed up until 3 am to finish reading. Excellent start to a series I am definitely reading the other 3 books! Susan Beth Pfeffer is the author of several YA books. Check out her blog: Jul 24, Lucie rated it really liked it Shelves: This is probably the most quotable book I've ever read. Page after page of quiet but powerful sentences, thoughtful lessons that will stay with you long after you've put this book down. A large meteor has collided with the moon, pushing it closer to Earth, causing tidal waves, tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanoes.
The power grid is destroyed. Volcanic ash now blocks the sun. Everywhere, people are dying from freezing temperatures and starvation. Miranda, once a typical teenage girl, now faces the This is probably the most quotable book I've ever read. Miranda, once a typical teenage girl, now faces the unthinkable for herself and for her family.
Every day she had to live with the paradox of what W. A gifted storyteller, she related stories of New Orleans and the bigotry she witnessed. He shoved her aside like so much trash and called her the n-word. Now I understood the clues concealed in that story. Post book critic Ron Charles interviews the author of a new essay collection about people who pass as another race].
In what can only be called serendipity, I was presented with an opportunity to solve the uncertainly of my racial heritage. I appeared on the show in January At the welcome home party in New Orleans, I met my new uncle, two aunts, and slews of cousins. We were every shade of skin from darkest ebony to whitest white and all the shades in between. Suddenly, I was part of a multiracial family.
I discovered slave owners, enslaved women, and free people of color. Through the centuries I saw how shifting racial laws had affected my family, boxing them into racial categories that hindered them. My redemptive journey became the basis for my book, White Like Her: I suspect there are many white Americans are unaware of their own mixed-race heritage. At this late point, it would be disingenuous of me to claim any other identity.