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Emily Dickinson’s Poem 422

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Emily Dickinson’s Poem 422

In her poem numbered 422, Emily Dickinson addresses death, the theme of many of her works. This poem describes the death of a woman and the emotions of those around her at the time of her passing.

The first line of this poem is very interesting. Dickinson uses the phrase " the last night she lived" instead the night she died as most would describe this circumstance. This puts more emphasis on the life of the person dying and her life. One does not think of the night someone dies and also the last night they live. Dickinson says that this night was common, except for the fact that this woman was dying. Anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one understands this line. When someone you know is dying it consumes your way of thinking for a period of time. It makes you think of nature, as she states, and your life as so much bigger than you usually look at it.

In the second stanza Dickinson continues with this thought that when death is put in front of you the world seems extremely different. She says, "We noticed smallest things- Things overlooked before." Watching someone die makes even the minutest details of living that do not seem important in everyday life noticeable. Death is like a "great light" that reveals these things that are always present to us. When one has death on their mind it makes the aspects of living become more prevalent in all of the senses. Dickinson even calls these small things were "italicized" to those who watched this woman die. When a word is italicized it is written slanted to draw attention to it. The death of this woman made every little thing around these people worthy of their attention Dickinson tells of the people at this woman's death moving "ou...

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...dealing with their death. Although one is away from their work and duties when they experience the death of someone close to them, it is not like a vacation. It is awful because you must now cope with the fact that this person is gone. You have to regulate your beliefs, as Dickinson concludes. The time after a death is when you must make yourself believe that person is really gone.

Although Dickinson addresses death, one of her prevalent themes, in this poem, she does it very differently. This poem describes the death of a loved one and the grief that ensues, something that many people experience sometime in their life. In other poems when Dickinson speaks of death it is about her own death or Death as a figure who has its own personality because she was quite intrigued by it. This poem deals more with a human experience and emotions that everyone can relate to.
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