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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 22 of 62, added on January 21st, 2009 at 8:39 AM.

it show to us how to be grateful and more spirit for life.

ruzaida bt ahmad rodzi from Malaysia
Comment 21 of 62, added on December 29th, 2008 at 12:52 PM.

The reason the mattress is thrown out is because after death the bladder
and sometimes the bowel empties ,so for a very practical reason the
mattress is thrown out/away.
The use of "it" to refer to the dead person maybe to depersonelise the
death therefore making it easier to deal with ,or it maybe the gender is
unknown at that point.
It is a very realistic observation even today when we are less likely to
know our neighbours we know when there is unusual traffic and comers to a
house, also intuition is always at play.
I find this a very nice poem wonderfully observant and realistic this shows
us a part of life.

QUEENIEVENUS from United Kingdom
Comment 20 of 62, added on October 10th, 2008 at 7:39 AM.

replying to yaya from M'sia,
the mattress is being thrown out because the people are superstitious. That
is what i have been taught.

nadidaz from Malaysia
Comment 19 of 62, added on August 18th, 2008 at 7:53 AM.

Why is the mattress being thrown out from the window? What is the
significance of it? I know it indicates someone has died, but is it some
kind of ritual or tradition?

yaya from Malaysia
Comment 18 of 62, 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 62, 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 62, added on March 7th, 2008 at 9:08 AM.

the word 'house' in line 19 refers to?

maylee from Malaysia
Comment 15 of 62, 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 62, 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 62, 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

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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: 25389 times
Poem of the Day: Mar 30 2002

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By: Emily Dickinson

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