The Student News Site of Illinois Wesleyan University

The Argus

The Argus

The Student News Site of Illinois Wesleyan University

The Argus

The Student News Site of Illinois Wesleyan University

The Argus

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Telling of Emily Dickinson’s life hits the small screen

Photo credit to the Washington Post. A second season was ordered for the show in October, before the show was released.

Through the lens of black and white photos and writing in what reads like a different language, the 19th century can feel like a whole different world. 

Who were these people, and why do our teachers/professors insist on us reading them as if they actually have something to offer? 

Dickinson, the Apple plus tv series, released on November first, centers on the early life of American poet, Emily Dickinson. 

The show takes a pivoting look at Dickinson’s life, instead of the lonely spinster students are often taught, the poet is bright, witty and charming. 

Instead of the boring background of the time period, the crew and cast invoke a colorful atmosphere for the show. 

The sets of Dickinson are always intriguing. 

Inside the Dickson’s home there is a beautiful conservatory filled with a variety of flora and fauna and during Christmas time it is decorated to show off their holly jolly spirit. 

A dress shop is in the center of town, showing off the latest fashions of the 19th century run by a free African-American woman, who knows every lady in town secrets. 

And then there is the rusticly, trendy home of Henry David Thoreau, played by comedian John Mulaney.

Despite the show taking place during the restrictive times of the 19th century, it does a great job of staying modern. 

The teenagers party, dancing the popular ones of their time as well as ours and taking opium to ‘loosen up’. 

Parents are still overprotective, although most father’s don’t tell their daughters women shouldn’t be published and should focus on being proper housewives. 

The show tries to mimic Emily Dickinson’s poetry, while there are large portions that are gripping and heart wrenching, there are others that are more trippy, such as Dickinson seeing an apparition of a large bee, voiced by Jason Mantzoukas. 

When envisioning her poem “Because I could not stop for Death,” Dickinson is dressed in a romantic red dress and enters a carriage drawn by the ghosts of horses. 

Inside is Death, played by Wiz Khalifa, the two hotbox the carriage while “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish plays.

The soundtrack of Dickinson is made up of modern songs that encapture the mood of the moment to better communicate to the audience what is happening, as it always easy to tell in period films. 

The modern translations in this show don’t feel disjointed, instead allowing it to feel more realistic and true to people’s nature, rather than stiff and overly formal. 

The soundtrack also features “Boys” by Lizzo, “Your Best American Girl” by Mitski and “Future Heroine” by Ecca Vandal. 

Dickinson is one of the best period shows. 

It does not shy away from diversity or social issues, using the common excuse of they didn’t exist then. 

People of color, queer people and great political/social issues have always existed. 

By Dickinson showing show all of this it verifies itself as a series of great integrity and merit. 

Dickinson is a great dark comedy, introduction to one of the greatest poets of all time and a beautiful adaption of an old age for modern times.

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