• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The death in Emily Dickinson's poem "I heard a Fly buzz-when I died" is painless but striking.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The death in Emily Dickinson's poem "I heard a Fly buzz-when I died" is painless but striking. The appearance of the fly is startling at first because it is unexpected. The setting of the poem is the speaker's death bed, what is an ordinary fly doing there? Obviously the speaker is waiting to die, she (if I may give the speaker a gender) has "willed my Keepsakes-Signed away What portion of me be Assignable-". [lines 9-11] She appears to have accepted her death but is waiting for something amazing to happen. The room is quiet but with a sense of anticipation "The Stillness in the Room Was like the Stillness in the Air-Between the Heaves of Storm-". There is a peaceful atmosphere yet death is the storm to come. The reader senses that the speaker and mourners are expecting some spectacular event at the moment of her death. "The Eyes around-had wrung them dry-And Breaths were gathering firm For that last Onset-when the King Be witnessed-in the Room-". [lines 5-8] This stanza suggests that the mourners have ceased crying and were now waiting to witness something incredible when the speaker dies. "Last onset" is an oxymoron; "onset" means a beginning, and "last" means an end. For Christians, death is the beginning of eternal life, death brings revelation, when God or the nature of eternity becomes known. ...read more.

Middle

The carriage ride is slow, giving the speaker ample time to adjust to her death. After passing the children, the fields of grain, and the setting sun, the carriage passes a house. "We slowly drove-He knew no haste And I had put away My labor and my leisure too, For His Civility-". [lines 5-8] The speaker envisions Death as a person she trusted or believed that she could trust. Clearly there has been no deception on his part. They drive in a leisurely manner, and she feels completely at ease. She is therefore quite willing to put aside her work. "We paused before a House that seemed A swelling of the Ground-The Roof was scarcely visible-The Cornice-in the Ground-" [lines 17-20] The description of the house that seemed to protrude out of the ground, the roof "scarcely visible", brings to mind a grave sinking into the earth. The last stanza suggests the speaker is remembering the ride centuries later. "Since then-'t is centuries-and yet Feels shorter than the Day I first surmised the Horses' Heads Were toward Eternity." [lines 21-24] She recalls the drive in vivid detail although it occurred long ago. The moment she realized the horses were carrying her toward "eternity" is fresh in her mind as if it happened yesterday. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is the final stop on the speakers road to madness, her mind has completely snapped. This poem describes a persons journey through a mental breakdown. The speaker is both observer of the funeral and participant, indicating that the Self is divided, by the end of the poem, the Self has shattered into pieces. These three poems have one obvious theme in common, death. "I heard a Fly buzz-when I died" examines the nature of death, what people expect to encounter when they die. Human beings believe we are special, superior to the other animals and that our deaths should be treated with more reverence. We forget that humans are animals and we are all a part of the same family. Our deaths are no more or less significant than the other animals. Death is natural. "Because I could not stop for Death" teaches us that death is not to be feared, it is not an end to life but the beginning of a new journey. Death should not be sought after but neither should it be something to afraid of. In "I felt a Funeral, in my Brain" is a little different. While it portrays a persons mental collapse, it also shows that the death of the mind or sanity is nothing to fear. Once you pass that breakdown, get through the madness, your mind is free. Only by giving in to it can you truly be sane. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE War Poetry essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Comparison between John Donne and Emily Dickinson's poems: How each of them expresses himself/herself ...

    4 star(s)

    Dickinson invites her reader into the "Carriage". Death "slowly" takes the readers on a sight seeing trip where they see the stages of life. The firs site "We" passed was the "school, where children strove" (9). Because it deals with an important symbol, the "Ring" this first scene is perhaps the most important.

  2. The theme that links my three chosen poems, 'Cold in the Earth', 'TheToys' and ...

    However, it is obvious that the narrator has not and is therefore still stuck in the past. Bront?rites the poem using clever devices and language that it becomes obvious to the reader that she has not moved on. The fifth verse begins with two lines each starting with 'No other';

  1. The Meaning of Death in "The Last Night that She Lived" by Emily Dickinson

    communicating a double meaning; he is saying that this time is both constricting and sadly short because life is but a prolonged dying process that is only noticed at the very end. In the sixth stanza, the speaker once again relates death and nature.

  2. The theme that links my three chosen poems, 'Cold in the Earth', 'The Toys' ...

    Keats successfully portrays the message that all good things come to an end but life will still continue. The poet belonged to the Romantics movement. This means that his poems are sensitive to Nature, its power over mankind and in Keats' case his message was to seize the moment.

  1. Doors and Windows as Symbols of Character Thoughts and Relationships in Dom Casmurro and ...

    The window is not only a physical barrier to the world outside Angela's room, it is also a symbolic barrier for Angela's constricted and controlled life. As well, the relationship between Angela and the town can be represented by how her room is not on the ground floor, creating a

  2. Prize Giving - review.

    At Mornington This poem was inspired by a visit to a very dear friend, Thomas Riddell. The poet went to his garden first, then to the Mornington Cemetary where his parents are buried. The poem begins with the childhood memory in which the poet recalls her first visit to the sea as a child.

  1. Comparative Essay: Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.

    This is because he found that "every place was a burial-place; the houses full of life were equally full of death." Whitman is trying to convey that life doesn't end after death. He states that life and death exist everywhere and there is an endless cycle between death, body, and soul.

  2. An Occurrence at Own Creek Bridge

    Yet, the actual hanging of Farquhar is not what Bierce really focuses on; he puts all his diction in describing the process the character goes through in order to escape from time. In order for Bierce to demonstrate the difference between reality and fantasy, he chooses to do so in

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work