Poets | Poem of the Day | Top 40 | Search | Comments | Privacy
November 27th, 2015 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 305,693 comments.
Analysis and comments on I heard a Fly buzz -- when I died by Emily Dickinson

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 
41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 [59] 60 
61 62 63 64

Comment 53 of 633, added on March 18th, 2010 at 9:53 PM.
try this

Have any of you thought that maybe the fly might mean the devil? In many
stories, the devil is called the king of flies. Maybe the fly is
representing the devil who stops this dying person from entering the light,
or heaven (paradise, whatever you'd like to call it). And this person might
just be going through a calm death from old age, not necessarily dying from
battle. Also, Christopher, you're a jerk, for starters. People who post on
here not only have lives, but they seem to use their brains more than you.
Just because you deem this site and posting on this site "lame" doesn't
mean the people on here are unattractive or have no lives. If you don't
like, then shut up and leave.

highschoolstudent from United States
Comment 52 of 633, added on March 10th, 2010 at 9:10 AM.

Are you guys seriously arguing over the purpose of this poem?

(Normally I would not comment over something so useless but I am seriously
enraged by this)

There is nothing to this poem than what it says. You are all over analyzing
a simple poem. Emily Dickinson does not need a reason for writing this poem
more than to express her own emotions. It does not need to be based off of
something like the civil war or "The battle between good and evil". This is
a poem about someone seeing a fly when they die and how though that fly is
normally insignificant to someone who lives, since it is the last thing
that dieing person is to see, it is the most important thing to them.

Also, Ryan from Zimbabwe, sorry to sound very criticizing of your opinion,
but you obviously do not read into references in poems enough. It's not
about evil and good. It is about life and death. That is the reason for the
king (god or death... varies from person to person) being in the room.

Emily from United States
Comment 51 of 633, added on February 26th, 2010 at 1:57 PM.
Get a clue!

First of all, Colton X-box rots your brain! Secondly Emily is obviously
trying to show the battle between good and evil through beelbub, the fly,
and god, the king! U R all idiots, get a clue!
You have been analyzed beez

Ryan from Zimbabwe
Comment 50 of 633, added on February 16th, 2010 at 4:30 PM.
My Thoughts on the Poem

So, I'm guessing that the persona isn't clear in this poem whether it is a
man or a woman..? I'm wondering if the person is dying in a camp during the
Civil War. I do agree with the thought that the speaker is experiencing the
most basic of his or her senses when hearing the buzzing of the fly. I do
believe that this is how Emily Dickinson intended for this part of the poem
to be interpreted. The buzzing is clearly the climax of the poem, but it is
still hard for me to put into words why the buzzing is so significant. I
know that Emily Dickinson had described the buzzing as stammering which I
interpret as drunken and careless. I think it is possible that the dying
person finds comfort in the fly and its presence makes the transition
easier for him or her to die.

Walt from United States
Comment 49 of 633, added on December 8th, 2009 at 6:21 PM.

One of the main final messages of this poem is the impending pressure of
death, whether it be a literal or symbolic death. Death is foremost a
period of transition in which the soul transcends from a living plane and
becomes part of something otherworldly and enigmatic. In the wake of the
Civil War, the effects of death were an ever-present reality for families
across the nation. In this poem, Dickinson asks a question that especially
haunted Americans of her time: what do the dying experience as they
approach death? The initial experience of the narrator is one of complete
stillness and silence; the stillness is like “between the Heaves of Storm”
which eludes the idea that the process of dying is like transitioning
between the known Storm of life into the unknown Storm of the afterlife.
The “Eyes” surrounding the narrator are dry from having stopped mourning
and the “Breaths” are gathered as they wait for the narrator to finally
succumb to death. Despite the quietness of the scene, the narrator suggests
that the room lacks tranquility; rather, the narrator contemplates that
every aspect of his life that could be signed away has been relinquished to
the living (“Signed away/ What portion of me be/ Assignable –“) so that all
that is left is the body that he does not even own enough to control its
vitality. The narrator’s death is also a period of anxious waiting for
“when the King/ Be witnessed – in the Room –“. It is common to believe that
some other-worldly figure must be present to accompany the dying into the
afterlife, and as the narrator waits he hears the buzzing of the fly
pervade the room.

Despite everyone’s anticipation of the “King”, the buzzing of the fly is
all the narrator senses. However, it appears that the narrator is neither
disappointed nor relieved to hear the fly rather, he is fascinated by the
fly’s ability to keep the him gripped to life. The poem says that the fly’s
“stumbling Buzz” floated “Between the light – and me –“. It is as though
throughout the poem the narrator has relinquished his ties to his loved
ones, his possessions, and finally his body until everything that exists in
his mind and his senses are condensed and represented in the buzzing of the
fly. Here, Dickinson implies that the narrator’s identity lies outside of
what roles he might have filled or what possessions he owned because when,
in the last moments of his life, he is stripped down to the most basic
elements of his existence, all he knows is the buzzing of the fly.

The final lines of the poem say, “And then the Windows failed – and then/ I
could not see to see”. The failing windows imply that the light that the
narrator was searching for behind the noise of the fly did not meet him in
the end. While the final image comes off as rather depressing, it is
important to note that the narrator’s sense of hearing was always the key
to his identity in death. The sense of hearing is a recurring element in
Dickinson’s work and it often represents a more acute level of
understanding for the listener. Rather than dying and transcending into
darkness, the narrator comes to be defined by the most basic of his senses
and transitions into death with a better understanding of his own identity.

Laura from United States
Comment 48 of 633, added on October 22nd, 2009 at 3:21 PM.

i came to this site for an english assigment. to those who commented
constructively, i appreciate the input - it gave me a greater insight into
the poem, which helped me complete the assignment.

as for the rude comment that seems to have riled us all up...

it's people like this that give the united states a reputation of ignorance
and idiocy. to assume that everyone who posts something helpful on a poem
analysis site is "fat and ugly" is moronic. seriously - are we in fifth
grade? and as it happens, i enjoy going out clubbing with my friends as
well. i go to concerts. i play soccer. i've even been approached to do
modeling jobs, which i'm sure shocks you, christopher, as you expect me to
be obese and covered in boils. some people actually find intelligence
attractive - a concept i'm sure is lost on you entirely.

the point is that we are sophisticated and intelligent people who just want
to help our fellow students. so keep on posting, everyone - it really is a
big help.

oh, and christopher? thanks again for perpetuating the
"smart-kids-are-lame" stereotype. i'm glad there are people like you in the
world; it makes me feel like a freaking genius.

Rosetta from United States
Comment 47 of 633, added on September 29th, 2009 at 11:50 PM.

Hey guy who likes boys christopher. why didn't you show your e- mail
address either?? and by the way these sites are for far more intellectual
people than yourself. I too go to college and am on here for my literature
course. Although i find this site helpful. You must be one sad little
person who is probably not even old enough to actually know what it means
to go "clubbin" haha. Does it make you feel better about yourself ( who is
probably fat and ugly yourself) ridiculing people online who are much more
intelligent than you? I bet it does. You obviously have nothing better to
do with your time either. Don't be a hypocrite bro. This poem is awesome,
apparently people who read it aren't always. go gain some knowledge kid.
peace asshole

Jordan Hoke from United States
Comment 46 of 633, added on April 27th, 2009 at 5:17 PM.

First thing that i noticed when i read Dickinson's poem was much emphasiss
that she put on the concept of death. During her lifetime, Dickinson must
have experienced a lot of sad things since her poems are mostly about
'death'. We could argue that she must have written and was indeed inspired
by her lifetime experiences. Like most people have commented, the "fly"
might be a sign of the devil snatching away the narrator. the narrator is
so sad and might be in such huge pain hence "And breaths were gathering
firm...", this could mean that the body and the soul were partying.
Dickinson's poems are very exciting to read and they need one to
concentrate else it would be difficult to get the meaning of the poem.
Otherwise this lady wrote well, she is a genius!

Segolame Kalayakgosi from Botswana
Comment 45 of 633, added on April 14th, 2009 at 7:12 PM.

I ran across this site trying to figure out what this poem means all
together and i think the comments are good to read and learn from. and no
im not fat and ugly your just rude and you even came across this for
homework also the same as me. anyway about the poem itself. i did not care
much for this one as much as her others. it was difficult to understand and
get a good meaning out of it....

Ashley from United States
Comment 44 of 633, added on March 15th, 2009 at 9:50 PM.

-people interpret the poems not quote.
-we comment because we like to help each other out and aren't selfish which
i can see you are and probably unintellectual as well.
-don't judge other people's life style you go out clubbing, some read poems
that's how things are
-and you as well like the rest of us "wasted" time posting something


go get a job or do something that actually benefits society


stephanie from United States

This poem has been commented on more than 10 times. Click below to see the other comments.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 
41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 [59] 60 
61 62 63 64
Share |

Information about I heard a Fly buzz -- when I died

Poet: Emily Dickinson
Poem: 465. I heard a Fly buzz -- when I died
Volume: Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Year: 1955
Added: Jan 9 2004
Viewed: 98274 times

Add Comment

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding this poem better? If they are accepted, they will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.

Do not post questions, pleas for homework help or anything of the sort, as these types of comments will be removed. The proper place for questions is the poetry forum.

Please note that after you post a comment, it can take up to an hour before it is visible on the website! Rest assured that your comment is not lost, so don't enter your comment again.

Comment on: 465. I heard a Fly buzz -- when I died
By: Emily Dickinson

Name: (required)
E-mail Address: (required)
Show E-mail Address:
Yes No
Poem Comments:

Poem Info

Dickinson Info
Copyright © 2000-2015 Gunnar Bengtsson. All Rights Reserved. Links