A Vision

January 26, 2017 General Studies

In “I heard a Fly buzz-; Emily Dickinson expresses to her readers about the emotional instability she feels while on her deathbed. She has written several poems about death, but this one differs from her other poems because it is told from her perspective, in accordance with her final moments. The poem creates several powerful images that arouse various possible explanations. It is easiest to understand how the poem (and her death) unfolds by reviewing the poem stanza by stanza. However, before examining the actual context, it is also important to look at the form of the poem, which also plays a puissant role. .

First of all, and most noticeable, is the continual use of dashes, which adds a lingering essence, as if foreshadowing the death. The dashes also signify power and unanswered questions about death and, perhaps, whether or not an afterlife exists. Another aspect of the form is how it is broken up into stanzas expressing differing ideas in each one. By braking up such ideas, it is easier to analyze the varying aspects of death that Ms. Dickinson believes are imperative when expressing what she is feeling prior to her death. .

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The first stanza starts off repeating the title, “I heard a Fly buzz “when I died “” (line 1). These words, though odd, are explained through the rest of the stanza, as the insignificance of the sound of a fly’s buzz is magnified, thus becoming extreme, compared to “The Stillness in the room- (2). This “Stillness- is then related to the “Stillness in the air- (3). Though the “Stillness- causes the buzzing sound to take strength, “Stillness-, in this stanza, takes on a double meaning, which is representative of death as well. .

The second stanza differs from the first in that, as she lies in her bed, observers, who express their own emotions while witnessing her final moments, surround her. “The Eyes around “had wrung them dry—/ And Breaths were gathering firm- (5 &6) is representative of this scene, and these two lines also introduce the power of “Eyes-, a word which becomes more and more significant as the poem continues.


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