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Analysis Of I Heard A Fly Buzz-When I Died By Emily Dickinson Essay


I heard a Fly buzz-when I died-

I heard a Fly buzz when I died -

The Stillness in the Room

Was like the Stillness in the Air -

Between the Heaves of Storm -

The Eyes around had wrung them dry -

And Breaths were gathering firm

For that last Onset when the King

Be witnessed in the Room -

I willed my Keepsakes Signed away

What portion of me be

Assignable and then it was

There interposed a Fly -

With Blue uncertain stumbling Buzz -

Between the light and me -

And then the Windows failed and then

I could not see to see -

Emily Dickinsons belief about God and religion is changing and evolving throughout her poems. Knowing what she really felt about any religious subject is uncertain and we can only try to guess it from what she left behind, her poems. In I heard a Fly buzz-when I died- she treats subjects such death and afterlife. I believe that this poem reflecte the lack of faith in a higher entity and the promise of a life after one is dead. This poem narrates how the author is waiting for a God to come after her death but that God never comes. The author tells with this poem her opinionated perspective about the meaning of death and what is beyond, and I am going to deconstruct it so we can understand better Emily Dickinsons mechanics of thinking.

Lets start by analyzing her rhyme. After analyzing this poem I realized that it doesnt have any typical rhyme. Instead it has stanzas than are strategically shaped giving us that sense of confessioning during the poem. Some of them rhyme and some of them dont. It is almost like she did it unconsciously or she tried to make it rhyme in a very liberal form only to give it poetic characteristics to this revealing message. Dickinson uses the insertion of the long dash to interrupt the meter; and an ABCB rhyme scheme. Interestingly, all the rhymes before the final stanza are half-rhymes (Room/Storm, firm/Room, be/Fly), while only the rhyme in the final stanza is a full rhyme (me/see). Dickinson uses this technique to build tension; a sense of true completion comes only with the speaker's death.

The number of lines and the stanzas shape demonstrate once again the substance of this poem. This poem was written to be read slowly, to make every single word count and to give an equal importance to each stanza. "I heard a Fly buzz" employs all of Dickinson's formal patterns: trimeter and tetrameter iambic lines (four stresses in the first and third lines of each stanza, three in the second and fourth, a pattern Dickinson follows at her most formal).

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