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What is the theme of "I'm Nobody" by Emily Dickinson?

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Quick Answer

Emily Dickinson's poem "I'm Nobody" has multiple themes, including universal feelings of being on the outside of a group, a rejection of authority and an "us versus them" mentality. It is a popular poem of Dickinson's that was first published in 1891.

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Like many of her poems, "I'm Nobody" reflects Dickinson's isolation from the rest of society. Born on Dec. 10, 1830 in Amherst, Mass., Dickinson rarely left home. By the time she was in her 30s, she almost completely isolated herself in her room, although she often wrote letters to friends and correspondences.

Dickinson is one of the founders of the American poetic voice. Her poetry is highly influenced by both the Puritan New England town in which she lived and those she interacted with. She was fond of the 17th century poets, including Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and John Keats, and their influence is evident in her poetry.

After Dickinson died in 1886, her family found 40 hand-stitched books filled with nearly 1,800 poems she wrote throughout her life. Although she would sometimes include short pieces of poetry in her letters to friends and family, no one knew she had accumulated so many.

Although the first book of Dickinson's poetry was published after her death in 1890, she is regarded as a prolific American poet who influenced generations of American writers.

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