Show MoreEmily Dickinson's Obsession with Death
Emily Dickinson became legendary for her preoccupation with death. All her poems contain stanzas focusing on loss or loneliness, but the most striking ones talk particularly about death, specifically her own death and her own afterlife. Her fascination with the morose gives her poems a rare quality, and gives us insight into a mind we know very little about. What we do know is that Dickinson’s father left her a small amount of money when she was young. This allowed her to spend her time writing and lamenting, instead of seeking out a husband or a profession. Eventually, she limited her outside activities to going to church. In her early twenties, she began prayed and worshipped on her own. This…show more content…
All three poems expound on Dickinson’s uncertain certainty that there is an afterlife, and that it will be a better place than her present world. In the poems “(712) Because I could not stop for Death”, “(465) I heard a Fly buzz” and “(501) This World is not Conclusion”, Dickinson shows her uncertainty about death and the world beyond.
In “Because I Could Not Stop For Death”, Dickinson wavers between reality and illusion while commenting on her ideas about afterlife. 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 states,
“Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality” (Norton, 726).
The irony in this statement further exemplifies her disillusioned feelings about death. Death “kindly” stopped for her, taking her from her otherwise comfortable life to the afterlife. This particular diction shows that death has stopped being a frightening, ominous presence, and has now become a comforting, constant presence.
Dickinson further proves her points by glancing out the window at young children, growing grain, and a setting sun (Norton, 726). As life goes on outside, she is trapped in the “carriage” – her seclusion – with death, yet she is oddly calm. The scenes she sees out of her
Emily Dickinson's Poetry About Death Essay
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Emily Dickinson's Poetry About Death
"Emily Dickinson's Poems about death grew out of her reactions to the tragic events in her personal life." In three of her poems, her style of writing reflects her way of life. 'I heard a Fly buzz when I died', 'My life closed twice before its close' and 'I felt a Funeral in my brain' all reflect on Dickinson's feelings and emotions towards death. In 'I felt a funeral in my Brain', Dickinson describes her own funeral in perfect detail. As if she is an observer of the service. As shown in the title of the poem, Dickinson seems to be feeling all of these emotions in her ?brain? or so she states. ?And when they all were seated. A Service, like a Drum-kept beating-beating-beating-till I…show more content…
In the poem, Dickinson describes every detail about how she is dying. It is her own portrayal of death in a sense.
In another one of Dickinson?s poems, ?The Bustle in a House? describes life after death, and what happens to love. In the poem Dickinson describes how the heart is swept up by love and love is put away and not used again until eternity. Funk and Wagnall?s dictionary describes eternity as ?The endless time following death.? Dickinson is trying to imply that love should be put away until you see that certain loved one again after death or a state of eternity. In the poem Dickinson states, ?The Sweeping up the Heart And putting Love away We shall not want to use again Until Eternity.? This signifies love after death. I feel that the meaning of pain doesn?t exist to Dickinson. In other words, pain has an element of blank or no meaning at all. Her focus on the structure of her poems avoids any experience or sensation of pain. She deals with death in a very calmly matter. Some of her poems make me wonder about her mental stability, but others make perfect sense in some weird sort of psychotic form. Overall, I think Dickinson is just trying to portray all of the hardships that she is going through in her life. Bibliography
Funk and Wagnall?s Standard Desk Dictionary(1989), Vol. 1, p. 217
Higginson, Thomas. Emily Dickinson And Poetry, Henry Holt and Company New York, 1975. page. 122
McPhee, John. American Poet,