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Death in Emily Dickinson poems

,,Because I could not stop for death versus

,,I heard a Fly buzz when I died

,,Language is poetry, Emily Dickinson said,when it ,,makes my whole body so

cold no fire ever can warm me, when ,,I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off
(L342a). According to this definition, poetry reveals itself in the immediate, unambiguous
response of a reader to a text. The language of Dickinsons poetry is elliptically compressed,
disjunctive, at times ungrammatical; its reference is unclear; its metaphors are so densely
compacted that literal components of meaning fade. One of the primary difficulties for the
modern reader of Dickinsons poetry is to understand this tension between the poets partially
articulated desire to speak to an audience, to move her reader, and her largely unarticulated
decision to write the riddling, elliptical poetry she does. Dickinson writes as she does because of
a combination of factors: her belief in the extraordinary power of language, her responses to the
language she reads in midnineteenth century America, and her sense of herself as woman and
poet. These are the context in which we can understand the language of Dickinsons poetry.
That being said we can go ashead and we can discuss the death in these two poems of Dickinson,
,, I heard a fly buzz when I died and ,, Because I could not stop for Death
Emily Dickinsons poetry is based on her deepest thoughts and life
experiences. During her life she endured many tragic deaths of people close to her. This
influenced her writing as means of expression and became a recurrent idea in her poetry. Because
in her poems she interprets death differently, it can be inferred that she views death as ambivalent
and equivocal. Dickinson uses different poetic devices to emphasize the unpredictable character
of death.
In Because I could not stop for death versus I heard a Fly buzz - when I died, death is a
strong, and meaningful word that has the power to capture our attention in moments. Because
when we read literary works, like poetry about death, a strange feeling it is evoke in us. Many of
Emily Dickinsons poems are focused on this strong and meaningful word. In her poems,
Dickinson talks about death from her memories while at the same time she controls what the
reader feels, and thinks about that particular poem. Although the two poems by Emily Dickinson
"Because I could not stop for death" and " I heard a fly buzz- when I died" share the same topic

about death, and both have slant and exact rhyme, as well as personification and alliteration
added, but mood and tone differ significantly, moreover the setting and the use of metaphor and
irony is diverse in the poems.
In the poem ,,I heard a fly buzz when I died, we see that although the room is so quiet that the
speaker can hear a fly buzz, there are in fact many people there, waiting for her death. They have
all finished crying The Eyes around had wrung them dry and are preparing for her final
moments And Breaths were gathering firm / For that last Onset, when it is presumed she will
see God, who will lead her to the afterlife when the King/ Be witnessed in the Room . The
speaker, as per the Victorian tradition of death bed scenes, then wills away all of her material
possessions I willed my Keepsakes Signed away/ What portion of me be/ Assignable. A fly
then interrupts the scene, and its uncertain stumbling buzz distracts the speaker, gets between
her and the light of death, or more probably, what the speaker hopes will follow death. The
speaker then loses consciousness And then the Windows failed and then/ I could not see to
see , which ends the poem, as we can imagine, with her death.
In the poem ,, Because I could not stop for death, this civility that Death exhibits in taking
time out for her leads her to give up on those things that had made her so busyAnd I had put
away/ My labor and my leisure tooso they can just enjoy this carriage ride We slowly drove
He knew no haste. In the third stanza we see reminders of the world that the speaker is
passing from, with children playing and fields of grain. Her place in the world shifts between this
stanza and the next; in the third stanza, We passed the Setting Sun, but at the opening of the
fourth stanza, she corrects this Or rather He passed Us because she has stopped being
an active agent, and is only now a part of the landscape. In this stanza, after the realization of her
new place in the world, her death also becomes suddenly very physical, as The Dews drew
quivering and chill, and she explains that her dress is only gossamer, and her Tippet, a kind
of cape usually made out of fur, is only Tulle. After this moment of seeing the coldness of her
death, the carriage pauses at her new House. The description of the houseA Swelling of the
Groundmakes it clear that this is no cottage, but instead a grave. Yet they only pause at
this house, because although it is ostensibly her home, it is really only a resting place as she
travels to eternity.The final stanza shows a glimpse of this immortality, made most clear in the
first two lines, where she says that although it has been centuries since she has died, it feels no
longer than a day. It is not just any day that she compares it to, howeverit is the very day of her
death, when she saw the Horses Heads that were pulling her towards this eternity.
First of all, both of these poems have same exact subject. One of the methods that Dickinson
uses to help reader know from beginning about what she will write in her poem is her choice of
title such as Because I could not stop for death reveals the topic it will cover. The title was
written in the past tense, telling the reader that it already happened. In her first poem, Emily talks
about death and how she experienced it on her own. The second poem was also written about the
authors death and its title I heard a fly buzz - when I died leaves a gray area for discussion. In

the title of both poems Dickinson states her subject capturing the reader on an adventure.We can
conclude that both poems are similar because subject matter of poems is the same. On the other
hand, Dickinsons poems are different in a way since her use of metaphor and irony in both of
those poems differ. As Emily compares death to a suitor (fiance), she uncovers the use of
metaphor in her poem. The author accepts death as someone she plans to marry nothing more
important in the first one of her poems. That is one part of usage of metaphor in her poetry. Next,
in line 17-18 A house that seemed a swelling of the ground" she used metaphor again to prove
her point that we might think this is not a grave. As well as indicating the figure of speech above,
Emily adds some irony in line 1-2 when she said Because I could not stop for death- he kindly
stopped for me-. Dickinson compares death to a kind gentleman, as thats her calm acceptance
about death, which is ironical. In contrast to the first poem, the second one shows metaphor and
irony in the buzzing fly, as the speaker is still alive, yet at the same time fly hints of the speakers
death. Author wrote in line 12, there interposed a fly, feels like its not satisfying readers
thoughts since instead of the king who Emily was waiting for appeared a fly, this situation of the
poem is also ironical. In both of these poems its author uses different approach as in how she
uses the elements of literature, metaphor and irony. Although these poems have similarities, they
also contain differences, and one of the poems differences is the tone and mood. Because I
could not stop for death poem has a calming, gentle and more of a positive look on death, as we
interpret from the stanza 2, line 5-8 we slowly drove - he knew no haste and i had put away my
labor and my leisure too, for his civility - also it is in a way more accepting. Nonetheless, the
other poem holds more of a harsh tone instead of a gentle one like as we understand from the
first stanza, line 2-4 the stillness in the room was like the stillness in the air - between the
heaves of storm -. Not reassuring, the second poem leaves the reader thinking in more disturbed
and mysterious way about death, as well as indicating sadness. Therefore, Because I could not
stop for death and I heard a fly buzz when I died are written on different tone, and mood of
both poems hold opposite views. Next similarity between Dickinsons poems is showed in her
use of slant and exact rhyme in both of these poems. There are several places where she inserts a
slant rhyme in her first poem that we are comparing. For example, in the third stanza she half
rhymes the word ring with sun at recess- in the Ring...setting Sun, also she throws in the words
chill and tulle in the fourth stanza of the poem which is also a off rhyme(slant rhyme 380). I
heard a fly buzz when I died has several slant rhymes too and one of them is in the first
stanza, room rhymes with storm In the roomof storm (2-4). As well, exact thyme is in lines
14 and 16 in the words me and see. From outside of the poem some individuals can say that they
are completely unlike poems, but when analyzing it closely you end up seeing connection
between them like the use of slant and exact rhyme. The last differentiation between those two
poems is its setting. First poems setting is driving through town in a carriage alone with death
and immortality, where she see's school, where children strove (9), this exemplify her
childhood. Then they passed field of gazing grain (11) which is the stage of her adulthood and
the setting sun represent her end of life, these images define the stages of her life. Different
from the first poem, next ones setting is in a room, with people around her as she lies in her
bad. Speaker lets the reader know that they recently stopped crying in the eyes around had

wrung them dry (5) and the room was quiet, than the setting changes and the reader is alone
with the speaker some place far away. After reading the poems the reader can observe that the
poem that each poem has its own setting which makes the poems different. Last but not least,
both of the poems contain personification. Personification is in the 2nd line of the first poem, he
kindly stopped for me, and in 5th line he knew no haste since it talks about death like a
person with feelings and certain actions. Furthermore, this author uses same techniques in her
second poem. As the reader comprehends, in line 6 Breaths were gathering firm there is an
element of literature, personification as author says that breaths like something real were
gathering firm. Over all we can conclude that those two poems are even more similar since
personification is included in both poems. Lastly, both poems contain alliteration as well as
personification. Emily Dickinson adds alliteration to the first poem in line 7 My labor and my
leisure too with words labor and leisure. In her second poem she puts more of alliteration in line
With blue-uncertain stumbling buzz with the word blue and buzz, since close up words both
start with the same sound. Alliteration is one additional way how Dickinsons poems are
comparable. Because I could not stop for death and I heard a fly buzz- when I died those two
poems by Emily Dickinson show how similar they are by having alike subject matter, along with
slant and exact rhyme that reader can find by reading those poems, in addition, both poems have
personification and alliteration, however, the mood and tone is different, also setting and
metaphor and irony makes those two poems extremely unique.
The subject of those two poems is about death, Dickinson describes how
she went through the end of her life in both of her literary works. Despite the several differences
among those two poems, they are still much more similar than people may confer. The strong
and meaningful word comes up often in her poems, not many writers will prefer to write poems
about this word, but Emily Dickinson really was a unique person and that very much impacted
her poems. Deatha sharp and powerful word.


Emily Dickinson: A Poet's Grammar - By Cristanne Miller
Emily Dickynson: Poems
Emily Dickynson: Women Poet (P.Bennett 1990)