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Differing Experiences of Death in "I Heard a Fly Buzz-When I Died" and "Because I Could Not Stop for Death by Dickinson,

Powerful Essays
Emily Dickinson stands out from her contemporaries by discussing one of man's inevitable fears in an unconventional way: death. In two of her poems, "I heard a Fly buzz-when I died" and "Because I could not stop for Death," Dickinson expresses death in an unforeseen way. Although Dickinson portrays death in both of these poems, the way that she conveys the experience is quite different in each poem. Dickinson reveals death as a grim experience, with no glimpse of happiness once one's life is over in "I heard a Fly buzz-when I died." In contrast to this, Dickinson consoles the reader by characterizing death as a tranquil journey in "Because I could not stop for Death." However, despite this difference, Dickinson seduces and catches the reader off guard by speaking of death in an unconventional way. Emily Dickinson masters describing a traumatic human event in the most mundane terms, with the help of literary devices such as imagery and language. With her use of imagery, Emily Dickinson is able to govern how the reader feels and reflects about death. In her poem, "Because I could not stop for Death," the word "could" signifies that death has occurred as a past experience. Due to this poem being based on a past event, Dickinson is able to use imagery to relate death to a fresh memory of hers. In the beginning of the poem, Dickinson writes, "Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me." Not only does Dickinson portray death as a man, but she does so in a way that the man is not perceived in a negative way. She writes as if the man is her lover, kindly stopping in a way as if he was to suit her. Death is not to be our enemy, but instead is our companion. In the next two lines, in lines three ... ... middle of paper ... ...inson's unorthodox way of writing about death succeeds in catching the reader off guard. In both "I heard a Fly buzz-when I died" and "Because I could not stop for Death," Dickinson is able to portray death in a way that is unfamiliar to most people. She did not write to please her audience, but to serve death as a metaphor for how we live our lives. Her use of contradicting themes creates a frustration and angst that we as humans feel. As we live in constant fear of death, we lose control of our lives. Dickinson's use of imagery and language in mundane terms act as the epitome of how we live out our days. Although they are done in different ways, both poems captivate the reader emotionally and physically. Emily Dickinson's style of writing paved the way for other authors to open up emotionally to their audience and reveal who they were as a poet and writer.