The Joys of Being a Recluse

This Wednesday I have to audition for a very prestigious acting scholarship. The audition consists of an interview and a 2-3 minute performance. I'll be competing against the best actors and actresses in the state. Eeps! I'm nervous.

But I found a killer monologue to do. It's Emily Dickinson talking about how much she enjoys being a recluse. It's from a play called The Belle of Amherst. I decided to post it here, just in case any of you are curious:


The Belle of Amherst:

Forgive me if I’m frightened. I never see strangers and hardly know what I say. My sister, Lavinia—she’s younger than I—she says I tend to wander back and forth in time. So you must bear with me. I was born December tenth, eighteen thirty, which makes me… fifty three?

Welcome to Amherst. My name is Emily Elizabeth Dickinson. Elizabeth is for my Aunt Elisabeth Currier. She’s Father’s sister. Oh, how the trees stand up straight when they hear Aunt Libbie’s little boots come thumping into Amherst! She’s the only male relative on the female side.

Dear aunt Libbie.

But I don’t use my middle name anymore—since I became a poet.

Professor Higginson, the literary critic, doesn’t think my poems are… no matter. I’ve had seven poems published—anonymously, to be sure. So you see why I prefer to introduce myself to you as a poet.

Here in Amherst, I’m known as Squire Edward Dickinson’s half-cracked daughter. Well… I am! The neighbors can’t figure me out. I don’t cross my father’s ground to any house or town. I haven’t left the house for years.

The Soul selects her own Society—
Then—shuts the Door.

(EMILY turns to the window)

Why should I socialize with village gossips? There goes one of them now—Henrietta Sweetser—everyone knows Henny. She’d even intimidate the anti-Christ. Look at her! She’s strolling by the house, trying to catch a glimpse of me. Would you like that?

So I give them something to talk about. I dress in white all year round, even in winter. “Bridal white,” Henny calls it.

(Mimicking gossips)

“Dear, dear! Dresses in bridal white, she does, every day of the blessed year. Year in, year out. Disappointed in love as a girl, so I hear. Poor creature. All so very sad. And her sister, Lavinia, a spinster too. Didn’t you know? Oh, yes. Stayed unmarried just to be at home and take care of Miss Emily. Two old maids in that big house. What a lonely life, to shut yourself away from good people like us.”


You should see them come to the door, bearing gifts, craning their necks, trying to see over Vinnie’s shoulder. But I’m too fast for them. I’ve already run upstairs two steps at a tame. And I hide there until they leave. You can imagine what they make of that!

One old lady came to the door the other day to get a peek inside. I surprised her by answering the door myself. She stammered something about looking for a house to buy.


To spare the expense of moving, I directed her to the cemetery.


Tee hee. I'm excited, but nervous!

~Enna Isilee


  1. That is an awesome monologue. You'll do splendidly.

  2. Good luck, Ennalee!

    That monologue seems like it fits you. :-)

  3. im currently about to read this for my acting class, its a wonderful piece and character to connect to, best of luck=]

  4. I'm actually thinking about reading this one for auditions for a part in my next school play. But I need to know where I can find the actual play for this...... My teacher wants us to read the play for our monologue to be at it's best...

  5. I'm doing that one too! LOL but i start a few paragraphs before what you posted too.

  6. I did this one for drama... it went great!!! I hope you do great, too! :D

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