1. Long essay:
In two poem/letters to Susan, Dickinson compares Susan to Peru. Study these two poem/letters--"Dear Sue. Your - Riches - taught me poverty!" and "Susan I dreamed"--and also examine the contextual material provided from William Prescott's The Conquest of Peru and other nineteenth-century sources. Write an essay that considers how Dickinson's invocations of Peru when writing about and to Susan echo and revise representations of Peru in other mid-nineteenth-century materials. [This is a rich and subtle question. Make sure you narrow your topic. For example, you might want to compare the quote from Prescott on the opening page of this web site and the two Dickinson poem/letters. All three texts link Peru to economic concerns--the cost of Peru and the value of its riches. How does Dickinson play on the language of conquest and economics? Why does she compare Sue to Peru? Is Sue to be conquered? Is she expensive? Are these poems about the finality of conquest or the elusive nature of love and desire?]

2. For class discussion:
Read "Some Rainbow - coming from the Fair!" and "A moth the hue of this" and "A Drunkard cannot meet a Cork." Prepare for class discussion by writing a) a paragraph for each poem that paraphrases the poem, and b) a fourth paragraph that identifies what these poems share. Consider subject matter, tone, mood, syntactical features, terms, and references to foreign lands.

3. Journal assignment:
Five of the poems gathered refer to foreign lands while exploring the nature of desiring what is fleeting or unattainable. For Dickinson, the unattainable might be spiritual peace or a full grasp of beauty in nature. Significantly, Dickinson uses foreign lands to represent the elusive. Read the following poems and write about the use she makes in each of such places as St. Domingo, Bolivia, India, or Brazil.

4. Short essay:
Read Joan Burbick's article cited in the bibliography. Write a three page essay that summarizes Burbick's argument and that uses one of the poems from this article to support or refute Burbick's suggestions about the "economy of desire" in Dickinson's poems.