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“what they call households”

Emily Dickinson never married, which might explain why Susan, rather than the poet, inherited the grand mahogany sideboard, pictured here, from Emily Norcross Dickinson. Susan’s path as mother, wife, and homemaker more closely followed society’s expectations of women of her period. In contrast, Emily Dickinson’s poems frequently questioned marriage and traditional gender roles. She once wrote: “God keep me from what they call households!” (L36)

Emily Dickinson to Abiah Root (L36), May 7, 1850, in The Letters of Emily Dickinson, ed. Thomas H. Johnson (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1965), 1:97.

Well-appointed dining room with corner cabinets, claw-footed table and sideboard. The wallpaper is a blue brocade pattern.

Title divine - is mine!
The Wife - without the Sign!
Acute Degree - conferred on me -
Empress of Calvary!
Royal - all but the Crown!
Betrothed - without the swoon
God sends us Women -
When you - hold - Garnet to Garnet -
Gold - to Gold -
Born - Bridalled -
- Shrouded -
In a Day -
"My Husband" - women say -
Stroking the Melody -
Is this - the way? (Fr 194)