Death in Emily Dickinson's Because I Could Not Stop for Death and I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died

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Death in Emily Dickinson's Because I Could Not Stop for Death and I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died

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
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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 is getting ready to make this transition to the next world but then the fly reappears and puts a halt to this alteration. The final stanza of this poem includes the lines, "With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz, between the light and me; and then the windows failed, and then I could not see to see." The word light in this stanza can be associated with some heavenly existence or higher power that awaits the speaker.

The buzzing fly blocks her view though of where she is heading and the light that was once there is now gone. Though the poem deals with what may await the speaker in the afterlife the reader is still left wondering if anything does await them after death because the speaker does not reach an afterlife in the poem. Dickinson?s poem "Because I Could Not Stop For Death" serenely describes how the speaker is escorted by Death in his carriage. Death carries the speaker slowly and peacefully through time. It is ironic that Dickinson writes of Death?s civility and politeness during a time that is mostly associated with anger and sadness.
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