In this lesson, students will explore Dickinson’s poem “Safe in their Alabaster Chambers” both as it was published as well as how it developed through Dickinson’s correspondence with her sister-in-law Susan Huntington Gilbert Dickinson. The Dickinsons’ letter manuscripts provide a fascinating insight into the process of Emily Dickinson’s craft, while simultaneously complicating commonly held notions that she was a recluse who wrote purely in isolation. Dickinson in reality maintained many dynamic correspondences throughout her lifetime and specifically sought out dialogues on her poetry. These correspondences—both professional and private—reveal a poet keenly aware of the interdependent relationship between poet and reader.
For a complete introduction to the three lessons in this curriculum unit, Letters from Emily Dickinson: "Will you be my preceptor?" review the curriculum unit overview.
After completing this lesson, students will be able to
Review the curriculum unit overview and the lesson plan. Locate and bookmark suggested materials and other useful websites. If necessary, download and print out any other documents you will use and duplicate copies as necessary for student viewing.
If teaching the entire curriculum unit, teachers should ask students to submit all work in the form of a final portfolio, which may be evaluated based on the overarching curriculum unit assessment rubric found in the third lesson.
1-2 class periods