Emily Dickinson 'I Heard a Fly Buzz and 'I Could Not Stop for Death'

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Death is the mere termination of life, an execution of breath. For some an escape whereas for others a catastrophic affair. For those who believe in the existence of a god, their destination is determined by the creator, where their fate lies between heaven and hell. Emily Dickinson’s faith was a controversial subject but it is known she had come from a Christian background. Her poems encompass biblical references which link to god. In ‘I heard a fly buzz’ and ‘I could not stop for death’ she talks about the ‘trivial’ matter of death, and explores death in a new light. She shows it in a positive way which suggests she was optimistic about death and didn’t see it as something to frown upon as it’s a natural event and sometimes the answer to all suffering and difficulties that life bares.

‘I heard a fly buzz’ consists of four stanza’s, with an identical number of lines. Dickinson uses capitals in specific words throughout the poem. This creates a distress on the rhythm of the poem, however it also draws the reader’s attention to these words, this connotes that Dickinson felt the need to emphasise the words as they have a great significance in the poem. She also repeats the words ‘stillness’ and ‘room’, both words entwine and reflect the lifeless mood in the poem. The various dashes represent her life flashing before her eyes and creates a breathing effect. The last dash depicts her last breath of life. ‘Because I could not stop for death’ consists of six stanza’s with also an equal number of lines. Dickinson uses the words ‘we passed’ continuously to show her movement in life. Her life’s evolving rather than ending, and she isn’t alone in death. She’s trying to inform us that death isn’t as lonely as people percept; it’s a reality that people need to come to terms with. She also uses alliteration, ‘gazing grain’ she feels as if people are watching her, however it’s ironic that she’s dead hence not being able to be seen by the human eye.

‘Death did not wait...
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