I Heard a Fly Buzz...

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In "I Heard..." Emily Dickinson recollects the act of dying from the perspective of the person who have died. Examine the poets' use of such literary elements as detail, setting, symbolism, and tone to provide a unique, imaginative perspective on what happens when we die.

In Emily Dickinson's “I heard a Fly buzz-when I died”, she writes using the perspective of a dead person, speaking beyond the grave. In this poem, unlike most of her others, she focuses on what actually occurs as someone is dying, rather than what happens after death. Dickinson uses figurative language and differing literary devices that show how this poem she writes stands out from the rest. The first visual scene of death: the death bed. Dickinson uses this setting as a powerful image for readers to visualize, as they can (or should be able to) relate to. The entire setting takes place in a room. Every metaphor used is also strictly confined to this room, with the exception of imagining “stillness in the air- between the Heaves of Storm”. Dickinson also repeats the phrase “in the Room,” for the first and second stanzas, reminding readers that they aren't leaving the room, anytime soon. Then there's the fly. Dickinson emphasizes its importance. The fly could symbolize many things, such as the afterlife, the journey to eternity, or even death itself. Normally, a fly wouldn't even be considered a character, let alone a minor. Instead, the only significant character besides the speaker in the poem is the fly, and best represents the poem’s climactic moment. Its significance is so apparent that it comes between the speaker and “the light", the fly references spirituality and the afterlife. This bug and its consequences ultimately represents the speaker’s inability to hold on to spirituality, faith, or hope, in the face of death. The speaker is participating in a common deathbed ritual of the time—people would, as the end came near, will away their possessions, followed by a kind...
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