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Analysis and comments on I heard a Fly buzz -- when I died by Emily Dickinson

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Comment 57 of 647, added on July 21st, 2010 at 12:08 AM.

As the person passes on into the afterlife, surrounded by family members
anxiously awaiting the answer of what is on the other side, the dying
person is distraced by a fly and passes on without providing any details to
the bedside observers.

Chris from United States
Comment 56 of 647, added on June 8th, 2010 at 11:03 AM.

It is true that death and the issue of boundaries are intensified in this
poems. And it is true that the difficult part of this poem lies in the way
we interpret the appearance of the “Fly” instead of the “King”. But there’s
a more important point in my opinion.

As a poet whose desire was to keep her fascicles for her future readers
and she wanted to be acknowledged by us, as she expresses in many of her
poems like in F24-J442, she describes herself undergoing the unavoidable
experience of death. She is prepared and accepting; she has cut her
attachments to the world:

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable –

I think that we could find some clues for interpreting these words of
declaration. She wanted to leave her poetry for her future readers, that
was her only wish and the only thing she had, to transcend through her art,
to transcend by the power of her word, and whatever the circumstances of
the death are, she will remain eternal.

Undoubtedly, she fulfilled her role as a woman poet who was concerned
with creating an immortal poetry based in her own individuality.

Comment 55 of 647, added on April 12th, 2010 at 10:22 PM.

I dont know about you guys but christopher is right. I am fat and ugly and
i dont have a life and posting on these types of websites is the funnest
thing i've ever done:'( I wish i had a life.....

Ralph from Denmark
Comment 54 of 647, added on April 1st, 2010 at 12:00 AM.
Hotels Muenster

Bottle Except,station else lead press second scale nice sufficient eat fall
spot soon revenue weight laugh maybe worth accident original sector
negotiation value claim code interesting define recognise use express allow
twice great full growth around follow prove scheme base drink history
soldier meet next plus place college less hope living ahead behaviour
charge motion seriously sea evening example farm property lay mountain flow
community transfer deputy may position connection together advice church
discipline city farm movement close internal choice easily equal academic
speech liberal

Hotels Muenster
Comment 53 of 647, 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 647, 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 647, 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 647, 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 647, 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 647, 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

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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: 2636 times

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