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Analysis and comments on There's been a Death, in the Opposite House, by Emily Dickinson

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Comment 18 of 58, added on July 17th, 2008 at 10:20 PM.

I think the poem deals with how death affects daily life in a country town
as opposed to death occurring in a city. People hardly notice death taking
place in their neighbourhood in a city because of the busy lives they lead.
But in a town it is easily noticable and not only that neighbours pour in
to pay their last respects and participate in the ceremonies associated
with burial.Notice that the poem opens with the news of the death taking
place that day and how the house takes on a 'numb look' and the poems
closes with the idea that death taking place in a country town is 'easy as
a sign', that people intuitively come to know about it as soon as it takes
place. The implied contrast is to death occurring in a city, where
neighbours may not even come to know about a death in the neighbourhood.
Also, the use of 'It' to denote the dead person is worth commenting upon. I
think from a young person's point of view old people look so different from
themselves and young adults that they seem to be not human beings, but an
'it'. The boys may have seen this old person occasionally outside his home
and they may have studied with curiosity his withered hands, stooping form
and croaking voice. It would have been difficult for them to imagine him
young, healthy and good looking as themselves once upon a time. So, he is
just an 'it' for them.

IMMANUEL from India
Comment 17 of 58, added on March 21st, 2008 at 3:20 AM.

Maylee>> The word 'house' in line 19 would probably suit the imagery of a
coffin. From the previous lines we can see that the 'man of the appalling
trade' (which probably be the undertaker) taking measures of the 'house'.

This poem is generally about a view from a neighbour opposite the house
(obviously from the title). I agree with what kyle from US has posted. The
attitude of the persona towards the whole situation is like a reflection of
his past (when he was a child).

Mohd Hafiz from Malaysia
Comment 16 of 58, added on March 7th, 2008 at 9:08 AM.

the word 'house' in line 19 refers to?

maylee from Malaysia
Comment 15 of 58, added on January 9th, 2006 at 4:49 PM.

its a hard poem to read. i have to read it for english. can someone please
help me by explaining it?

Anonymous from United States
Comment 14 of 58, added on November 30th, 2005 at 5:51 PM.

I think that all Emily is saying is that basically, people are conditioned
to deal with death from a young age because death has visible signs even
when the actual “death” itself isn’t apparent. Because of this, much of the
emotional aspects of death are non-existant in the onlookers of the scene
because they have been desensitized to the whole concept of death. The use
of "it" in line 11 (they wonder if it died on that-) completely
depersonalizes the persons death, and thus, the children who are wondering
about "it" show no emotion towards the situation, but rather grimace at the
thought of the dead body. Yet, the speaker states "i used to when a boy"
showing that this non-sentimental attitude towards death is innate in
children. In a nutshell, the theme is that the scene of death has visible
signs even when a body is lacking, and beginning at a young age we pick up
on the signs and thus become conditioned to deal with death.

kylie from United States
Comment 13 of 58, added on April 20th, 2005 at 1:04 PM.

*****Quote******I understand the overall meaning of the poem and that she
is trying to show the different reactions of various characters to death,
but the last stanza throws me off, as does the mention of the "dark parade"


matt from United States ******Quote*****


To matt a dark parade would be like a funeral procession we today have

xxbloodyxwristxx from United States
Comment 12 of 58, added on February 3rd, 2005 at 12:00 AM.

Hahaha. You humor me. I am scared of you, Mr.
I'm-Gonna-Kill-You-Then-Myself-Man. How are you going to hunt me down? I
honestly don't think that an internet Comment Board is the right place to
look for advice on whether or not to kill yourself. How about a
psychiatrist? I'm sure TIMMY-C would be willing to give you a ride, because
his car goes really fast, and everything. God doesn't love you.

Sathappan from United States
Comment 11 of 58, added on February 2nd, 2005 at 2:37 PM.

Karlton, i will help you in your quest to find death, after i help you find
Sathappan and Christ. i love my car. it goes so fast.

TIMMY-C from Bosnia and Herzegovina
Comment 10 of 58, added on February 2nd, 2005 at 11:48 AM.

I am going to hunt you down and find you christ and sathappan, i dont
appreciate what you said at all. You mock the status of my life and tempt
me to kill my own self. You two are evil people. I will kill you.

karlton from United States
Comment 9 of 58, added on February 2nd, 2005 at 10:18 AM.

Well done, Karlton! I don't care about you either! Maybe I'll see you in
the after life, except you might be in hell! Jolly good work! Keep it up!
Nooses are great!

Sathappan from United States

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Information about There's been a Death, in the Opposite House,

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 389. There's been a Death, in the Opposite House,
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 25185 times
Poem of the Day: Mar 30 2002


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By: Emily Dickinson

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