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Emily Dickinson 465 Poem

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Denise Steiner

Prof. Keller

Eng. 226-01

May 3, 2017

Poem 465

In order to fully understand this poem, the time period and the personal beliefs of Emily Dickinson have to be considered. Emily Dickinson, was deeply involved and concerned about the truth of the conventional Christianity taught during her time. Just like many other authors of her time, she also generally believed in her culture. Dickinson’s religious questioning because a part of her work and is showed within her pieces of literature just like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville. This began and was mostly visible with the rise of rivals to the Roman Catholic Church’s secular power in nation-states. The Reformation also had the splintering of the church also continued and the intellectual as well as the scientific critique of Christianity’s traditional interpretations of history. Nature during the Enlightenment, the challenges to Christianity’s moral and political power in the American and French revolutions, and the spread of knowledge about powerful rival religious systems partly were a result of advancing world trade and communication. Therefore, more religious work was presented in these pieces of literature.

Many of Dickinson’s poems are about the various problems of faith and doubt that would occur to a brilliant and imaginative mind in her culture. This is because of the time period that he was living in. This poem is an attempt to pierce through the absolute barrier that stands between the narrator and the life beyond death. This poem allows the reader to question, “What comes in the moment that follows death?” By stating, “I heard a Fly buzz-when I died” just introduces the reader to a world that comes after death in Dickinson’s perspective.

Emily Dickinson placed herself in the mind of a corpse, laying in a dead silent room that was still. The way the poem described this moment is as if the corpse is reliving death, without a last breath with a light that comes afterwards. Rather than death being an instant moment, Emily Dickinson defined death as a slow and still yet almost peaceful moment. Her imagination also provided symbolism with the fly. The fly was a symbol of life and light, and soon enough left the corpse in darkness. The narration still speaks from the death. However, the only thing that it can reveal are the different senses that are surrounding the corpse. The eyes on the corpse are dry and the body rested still. The speaker is in a state of tranquility and has willed everything away. In the final scene of the poem, the fly flies between the people gathered around the speaker and light shining through the window. As the corpse noticed the light in the windows fade, she realizes that she is dead. Emily Dickinson used the windows to represent the narrator’s eyes as the light left them.



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