Date of Award

Spring 2007

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Bates, Milton

Second Advisor

Sorby, Angela

Third Advisor

Duffy, Edward


My companionship with Emily Dickinson had started early in my undergraduate education. I was born and raised in Pusan, South Korea, until my family moved to Seoul when I was nine. My early childhood in Pusan was full of joy because of the nearby mountains and sea. I feel fortunate that I had a close contact with nature when I was young. When I reentered Sogang University for a second undergraduate degree in American literature in 1994, my early love of nature drew me to Dickinson's nature poetry. For my senior thesis, I compared Dickinson's nature poems with those of Korean catholic poet Sister Hae-in Lee. Although I was first interested in Dickinson's charming and riddle-like nature poetry, as I became more familiar with her work I grew increasingly attracted to her poems about her struggles with the Christian faith. The result was my master's thesis, "Perspectives on Christian Motifs in Emily Dickinson's Poetry." When I started my doctoral studies at Marquette University in August 2001, I was looking for a larger theoretical frame that would provide an umbrella for my two interests in Dickinson's nature poetry and her ambivalent attitudes toward Puritanism. I found my answer when I took a course in "American Landscape Writing" in the spring of 2003 from Dr. Milton Bates. He assigned an impression paper about one of the American landscape paintings exhibited in the Milwaukee Art Museum. When I saw the Hudson River School painter Frederic Edwin Church's "A Passing Shower," I became transfixed before it. I couldn't move because I was deeply enchanted by the peaceful scene spread before me. I stood so long before the painting that a guard approached me. For me, it was a good chance to ask him about the small white dots at the shoreline of the lake. I thought of them as horses, but he asserted that they were cows. I read the painting's description on a plaque and encountered the word "pastoral." It was an epiphany...



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