Emily Dickinson: I Heard a Flyy Buzz When I Died

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 141
  • Published : September 24, 2005
Open Document
Text Preview
Emily Dickinson's poem "I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died" poses a question to the reader "what is the significance of the buzzing fly in relation to the dying person?" In a mood of outward quiet and inner calm, the dying person peacefully proceeds to bestow her possessions to others, and while willing her possessions, she finds her attention withdrawn by a fly's buzzing. The fly is introduced in close connection with "my keepsakes" and "what portion of me be assignable." The dying person has an obsession with cherished material things no longer of use to the departing owner. In the face of death, and even more of a possible spiritual life beyond death, one's concern with a few belongings is but trivial, and indeed a distraction from the issue of death itself. The physical aspects of ones existence are prominent, and this is expressively illustrated by the intervening fly. Even so small a self-evident creature is sufficient to separate the dying person from "the light," so that spiritual awareness is lost. The theme of this poem is death and jealousy. The death of the speaker, and the action of willing her possessions away to others on her deathbed, is intruded on by the fly that is alive. Unlike the speaker, the fly is able to live in a world which is not coming to an end. The fly is not only an intrusion on the "peaceful" death of the speaker, it is something to envy for her. The imagery is very clear in this poem. Emily Dickinson's elaborate picture of someone on their death bed is completely intricate and expressive. The willing away of worldly possessions and the finality of death is seen by the images created by Dickinson. "I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died" is a poem that uses imagery to capture the torment of a person who is on their deathbed. Today, and most definitely in the time of Emily Dickinson, there are major differences between the lives of men and women. The man is seen as the subject, or the head of the relationship, and the woman is...
tracking img