Emily Dickinson

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Hillary Adams
Instructor Child
English 1302.32
16 April 2012
Death
Emily Dickinson, who is now considered to be a great American poet, was not a well-known writer during her life in the mid-19th century. Although she was recognized for her work, most people thought it to be “eccentric” and unconventional. Her poems were “usually altered significantly” to fit the conventional rules of that particular era. She wrote “nearly 2,000 poems during her life time,” most of which were found after her death (Bloom). Her poems “Because death would not stop for me,” and “I heard a fly buzz” both have a reoccurring theme of death. Even though both poems share a similar theme, the poetic devices used and the overall tone of each poem are what sets them apart from one another.

“Because death would not stop for me” is a rather interesting poem. It tells the story of someone riding to the end of their life in a carriage with no one “but [Death] and Immortality (lines 3-4).” While riding in this carriage, this person looks back on their life and experiences; recognizing that although he has lived a fulfilling life, he is not headed towards the end, but the beginning of “eternity.” The overall mood of this poem is a positive one. Death is accepted and the journey towards it was a peaceful one that “knew no haste (line 5).”

The poem “I heard a fly buzz” is a bit different. This poem captures the “last thoughts and sensations” of someone on their deathbed (Aull). The last thing this person could think about before succumbing to death was the gross and “mundane” creature, the fly. “With this uncertain stumbling Buzz/Between the light and me/ and then the Windows failed/ and then I couldn’t see (lines 13-16)” This last stanza pretty much sums up the main idea of the poem. The idea of eternity is not a factor here. Death is going to come, and when it does that’s the end. The only thing standing between this person and “the light” is a fly, a fly that is buzzing around...
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