Emily Dickinson's Because I Heard A Fly Buzz When I Died

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A Examination of the Shock of Death: Emily Dickinson 's’ “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” and
“I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died”
“Because I Could Not Stop for Death” and “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died” are both poems written by Emily Dickinson, the former in 1863 and the latter in 1862. According to Christopher Nesmith writer of “Dickinson 's I Heard a Fly Buzz” “Many of Emily Dickinson’s poems are enigmatic, but perhaps none baffles its readers more than ‘I Heard a Fly Buzz-When I Died” (163). “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died” tells of the shattered expectations of what the speaker expects of life after death. To quote John Green, writer of “Dickinson 's Because I Could Not Stop for Death” “Dickinson’s ‘Because I Could not stop for Death’
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"In Because I Could Not Stop for Death” the speaker dies in the beginning of the poem.“Because I could not stop for Death – / He kindly stopped for me –” (1-2). Patricia Engle in “Dickinson 's 'Because I Could Not Stop for Death” writes, “What does the speaker-or anyone-stop doing for Death? We stop living” (73-74). This passage shows that the speaker has died at the beginning of the poem. Due to this fact the focus of the poem is put on the journey the speaker takes after death and her expectations she has after death of what the afterlife will be. In “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died” the speaker dies at the end of the poem, and the focus is more on the speaker preparing for death. “I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away / What portions of me be / Assignable” (9-11). This shows that the speaker is prepared for death. However, the preparedness of the the speaker’s are not the only aspect of the shock they receive after …show more content…
Where the speaker’s experience in “I Could Not Stop for Death” is not as immediately shocking, when she realizes that the afterlife she expected does not exist and she is just lying in the ground for centuries is.. In contrast, the speaker in “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died” has the shock of having all that she was prepared for ruined at the moment of her death when she realizes there is nothing after death. Clearly, both speakers encounter death differently, but they each experience the trauma of finding out death is not what they

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