Death in Emily Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop for Death," "I Heard A Fly Buzz-When I Died," and "I Felt A Funeral In My Brain"
Emily Dickinson's poems "Because I Could Not Stop for Death",
"I Heard A Fly Buzz-When I Died", and "I Felt A Funeral In
My Brain" all deal with one of life's few certainties, death.
Dickinson's intense curiosity towards mortality was present in
much of her work, and is her legacy as a poet.
"Because I could Not Stop for Death" is one of Emily Dickinson's
most discussed and famous poems due to its ambiguous, and unique
view on the popular subject of death. Death in this poem is told
as a woman's last trip, which is headed toward eternity. This poem
helps to characterize and bring death down to a more personal
level. Different from the more popular views of death being
brutal and cruel, Dickinson makes death seem passive and easy.
The theme of the poem being that death is natural and unstoppable
for everybody, but at the same time giving comfort that it is
not the end of a soul's journey. The reader can recognize the
poem's theme by analysing its voice, imagery, figures of speech,
form, diction and especially symbolism; all of which help the
reader to understand the poem's meaning. The precise form that
Dickinson uses throughout the poem helps convey her message to
the reader. The poem is written in five quatrains. The way in
which each stanza is written in a quatrain gives the poem unity and makes it easy to read. "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" starts to gives the reader a feeling of forward
movement throughout the second and third quatrain. For example, in
line 5, Dickinson begins death's journey with a slow, forward movement,
which can be seen as she writes, "We slowly drove-He knew no haste."
The third quatrain seems to speed up as the trinity of death, immortality,
and the speaker pass the children playing, the fields of grain, and
the setting sun one after another. The poem seems to get faster as
life goes through its course. In lines 17 and 18, however, the poem
seems to slow down as Dickinson writes, "We paused before a House that
seemed / A Swelling of the Ground-." The reader is given a feeling of
life slowly ending. Another way in which Dickinson uses the form of the
poem to convey a message to the reader occurs on line four as she writes,
"And Immortality." The word "Immortality" is given a line by its! elf to
show its importance. Perhaps the most notable way in which Dickinson
uses form is when she ends the poem with a dash, which seems to indicate
that the poem is never ending, just as eternity is never ending.
"I heard a Fly buzz-when I died," points to a disbelief in heaven or any
form of afterlife. In this poem, a woman is lying in bed with her family
and friends standing all around waiting for her to die. While the family
is waiting for her to pass on, she is waiting for "...the King..." This
symbolizes some sort of god that will take her away....