In the poem’s climactic moment. Its significance
In “I Heard..
. ” Emily Dickinson recollects the act of dying from the perspective of the person who have died. Examine the poets’ use of such literary elements as detail, setting, symbolism, and tone to provide a unique, imaginative perspective on what happens when we die. In Emily Dickinson’s “I heard a Fly buzz-when I died”, she writes using the perspective of a dead person, speaking beyond the grave. In this poem, unlike most of her others, she focuses on what actually occurs as someone is dying, rather than what happens after death.Dickinson uses figurative language and differing literary devices that show how this poem she writes stands out from the rest. The first visual scene of death: the death bed.
Dickinson uses this setting as a powerful image for readers to visualize, as they can (or should be able to) relate to. The entire setting takes place in a room. Every metaphor used is also strictly confined to this room, with the exception of imagining “stillness in the air- between the Heaves of Storm”. Dickinson also repeats the phrase “in the Room,” for the first and second stanzas, reminding readers that they aren’t leaving the room, anytime soon.Then there’s the fly. Dickinson emphasizes its importance. The fly could symbolize many things, such as the afterlife, the journey to eternity, or even death itself.
Normally, a fly wouldn’t even be considered a character, let alone a minor. Instead, the only significant character besides the speaker in the poem is the fly, and best represents the poem’s climactic moment. Its significance is so apparent that it comes between the speaker and “the light”, the fly references spirituality and the afterlife. This bug and its consequences ultimately represents the speaker’s inability to hold on to spirituality, faith, or hope, in the face of death.The speaker is participating in a common deathbed ritual of the time—people would, as the end came near, will away their possessions, followed by a kind of climax where they would announce the presence of God or of some spirit ready to take them to the next life, before they died, and all of this before an audience of their close friends and family.
Dickinson’s speaker succeeds in willing away her objects, but she is distracted by the idea that not all of her is “assignable”—presumably, this nonassignable part being her spirit or soul.Just as she has this thought, and thus is likely close to seeing “the light” and announcing that “the King/Be witnessed – in the Room –,“ she is interrupted by the fly. This fly, which reminds us of the most physical aspects of death, the rotting and decomposition of the corpse, stands between the speaker and the spiritual “light. ” While physicality distracts the speaker from a final revelation, however, the poem does not say that all hope should be lost, for the speaker’s very ability to write this poem means that there is an afterlife, after all.