Monday, August 15, 2011

Jacob as a model for Emily Dickinson

Jacob "fleeced" his brother Esau by pulling the wool over their father's eyes.  Jacob had followed his twin Esau into the world, and thus it seemed impossible for him to obtain the blessing of the firstborn.  But Jacob was unwilling to accept his fate passively: he purchased his brother's birthright for a mess of potage and deceived his blind father by throwing a goat's hide over his own smooth skin; thus did he master an apparently irrevocable loss.  The implications of this maneuver had a personal meaning for Emily Dickinson, who had been excluded from the family's quest for honor while her older brother was accepted as "natural" heir to the task of perpetuating the Dickinson family's reputation. - Cynthia Wolff

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