Analysis Of Emily Dickinson's Obsession With Death

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Register to read the introduction… Dickinson begins by telling the reader that she and Death are passengers in a carriage. This personification is meant to show the constant presence of the idea of death in Dickinson’s life. The first stanza …show more content…
In this stanza, she is looking back on the day of her death, when the “Horses’ Heads” were facing the path to her death. She believes this day felt longer than eternity in heaven would feel. For Dickinson, this is a suggestion of her day-to-day feelings—that each day could be her last, and so the moments of anticipation stretch longer than eternity. This anticipation is clearly ever present in the daily life of Dickinson, surrounding her constantly, much like the carriage in the poem.

In “I heard a Fly buzz”, Dickinson again talks about death as a constant presence all around her. The poem begins with a fly’s buzz ruining the serene scene of her death. Dickinson imagines that the eyes around her deathbed will be “wrung dry” (Norton, 727) of tears because of the supreme sadness. This illusion is shattered by the simple sound of a fly buzzing, ruining the perfect scene she had planned. Dickinson is commenting on the ironic and varying nature of life, and that even death is unpredictable and unable to be scheduled or planned by a mortal. Like in “Because I could not stop for Death”, Death is personified, this time in the form of a fly.

The poem then goes on to talk about the last moments of her life. In these moments, someone reads aloud her will and is interrupted by the buzz of the fly.
“I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portion of me
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If Dickinson was certain that the afterlife would be waiting for her, why would she be so preoccupied with death? Dickinson, like all humans, had a bit of doubt laced with her unwavering views on the afterlife. Her fear translated into beautiful poetry expounding on death and eternity. In “Because I could not stop for Death”, Dickinson begins by thinking of Death as a companion, but ends the poem with vulnerability and fear. As the life cycle continues in front of her—children playing, grain growing, the sun setting—she is trapped in a carriage with only Death and the notion of immortality. She decides that eternity will feel shorter than a lifetime of daily fear of death, and submits to her fate. In “I heard a Fly buzz”, Dickinson is actually comforted by the notion of uncertainty when a fly interrupts her serene deathbed scene. As the fly buzzes overheard, obstructing her view and interrupting her mourners, Dickinson realizes that nothing can be planned and that life is uncertain—hence, the afterlife can not be certain either. The only thing she is sure of at that moment is that it is her time to die. In “This World is not Conclusion”, Dickinson further expands on ideas of uncertainty by dismissing all reasoning about afterlife, preferring to rely only on her own faith to form her views. Philosophers, scholars, even religion, can only begin to curb the appetite that

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