Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

D. Michael Jones

Committee Members

Scott R. Honeycutt, Jesse K. Graves


Ralph Waldo Emerson’s bee poem, “The Humble-Bee,” expresses the nineteenth-century transcendentalist philosophy of finding wholeness and oneness in nature while Sylvia Plath’s twentieth-century bee poems function as a response to Plath’s feelings of alienation and repression, indicating that transcendental peace is lost in the postmodern era. Emerson’s poem indicates the spiritual fulfilment found through observing bees and highlights the harmony between humans and nature, but women of the nineteenth century find difficulty achieving this same level of freedom; Emily Dickinson reclaims the language of transcendentalism in her bee poetry to explore a world otherwise denied to her. The effects of the industrial revolution then sparked a mass disconnect between humans and nature, a disconnect reflected in the bee poetry of Sylvia Plath; she rejects the inherited tradition of transcendentalist poetry by using her bee poems to demonstrate discomfort within nature and society.

Document Type

Thesis - embargo


Copyright by the authors.