Because I Could Not Stop for Death

Topics: Death, Poetry, Afterlife Pages: 3 (983 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Emily Dickinson's two poems, "Because I Could Not Stop For Death" and "I Heard A Fly Buzz-When I Died," revolve around one central theme, death. Though the two do centralize around the theme of death they both have slightly different messages or beliefs about what is to come after death. By discussing both of the poems and interpreting their meanings, the reader can gain a fuller understanding of the message Dickinson is trying to send to her audience and a greater feel for what may lie ahead in the afterlife. When Dickinson writes in her first line, "I heard a fly buzz when I died," it grasps the reader's attention by describing the moment of her death. After reading the first stanza the reader can almost hear or sense the feeling of the fly buzzing in such a still and quiet room. The contrasting sounds of the noisy fly and the stillness in the air draw the reader deeper into the poem. The image created by this contrast is like the color white on the color black. It stands out immensely and catches the reader's eye. After the first stanza the reader is in full knowledge of the death of the poet. The second stanza reads, "The eyes beside had wrung them dry, and breaths were gathering sure for that last onset, when the king be witnessed in his power." This stanza deals with how God is brought upon by the speaker's death. Onlookers surround the dead body and seem to be looking for clues to what may eventually await them when it is their turn to pass onto another possible world. In stanza three the speaker is preparing for a journey into an afterlife that may lie ahead. Dickinson writes, "I willed my keepsakes, signed away what portion of me I could make assignable, - and then there interposed a fly." After already dying the speaker feels that it is no longer a must to have the possessions that most living people deem necessary and leaves them behind as her soul comes closer to it's fate. The speaker...
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