Saturday, December 21, 2019

What I’m Watching: Dickinson

Dickinson: Season 1, Episode 5 “I am afraid to own a Body” (B)

It’s interesting to see this show reference other writers who either don’t live up to their reputations or who cause plenty of controversy in exactly the kind of way that Emily would love to if she ever managed to get more than just a small piece published. Austin’s eagerness to play a female part didn’t go over too well with some of the people in attendance, but it was George’s insistence in front of everyone that Emily’s father wouldn’t want a black man acting with them that truly sent Emily over the edge. She’s not down with most of the social conventions that dominate her time, and to be told that someone isn’t equal and deserving of socializing with them wasn’t even the most offensive part of what he said. Telling Emily that he had asked her father for her hand in marriage was the worst possible way George could have followed up that confrontation, and, surprisingly, Edward seemed to understand that, to a degree. Emily’s mother wasn’t happy that Edward suggested that a spinster had more independence, possibly encouraging her to pursue that lifestyle, and she seemed to think that Edward wouldn’t ever want to let his daughter go. We saw a brief glimpse of Sue in her new life in this episode, and it doesn’t seem that she’s achieving the serenity or peace she might have hoped from escaping the pressure of her Dickinson admirers. Maybe she’ll make a return to Amherst soon, though which Dickinson she’ll choose to be with, if any, remains a question mark.

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