What is striking in the work of Emily Dickinson, as one search it for her beliefs is the frank, thoughtful, sometimes playful, but always direct approach which she makes to the problems of life, death and immortality. …
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Her concern with these problems and the expressions of her judgement that she has made in her own highly individualistic idiom has probably led to the classification of much of her poetry as mystical. (Humiliata, 144)
The work and life of Emily Dickinson became known to the world after her death. She led a secluded life and her work is shaped by her individualistic thinking. She mostly concerns herself with themes of: life, death, material and immaterial things, particularly in ‘I heard a Fly buzz’; ‘Wounded deer’; and ‘From cocoon forth a butterfly’.
The running them in ‘I heard a fly buzz’ is death and the momentous experience during the final breaths of life. It is an experience of dying and feeling the last remnants of life. Life is associated with the buzzing sound of a fly- a minute living object. Though everything is still around her; yet it feels as if she is surrounded by a storm. The buzzing sound of the fly is contrasted with “heaves of storm” (4). Dickinson employs contrast to enhance the various themes in her poetry. The fly is moving while everything else in the room is still.
She doesn’t personify the persons present around her deathbed but focuses on their emotions of grief. She does so purposefully so she could heighten the effect of the revelation of the king in power. ‘King’ could be anything- Christian God, or Death....
Even if life is trivial with respect to death or transcendental- it doesn’t let go that easily. The poet can feel life till the last moment. In the last stanza, she symbolizes light as life and darkness as death and the transcendence from light to darkness is gradual and painless. The poet is preoccupied with themes of life and death in this poem. “Death was important to Emily Dickenson. Out of some one thousand and seven hundred poems, perhaps some ‘five to six hundred’ are concerned with the theme of death...” (Nesteruk, 25-43) The first line of the poem startles the reader: ‘I heard a fly buzz when I died;” (1) because this statement apparently doesn’t make sense (no one can feel anything once dead). But the idea behind this is to elucidate the strong connection of life that a person experiences till the last moment. This poem is about feeling that moment where life and death intercede. Death is associated with power, stillness, and darkness. Sound and pictorial imagery is handled very delicately in this poem. The phrase ‘see to see’ is also the culmination of the poem’s complex sound play. It echoes the repetition of ‘stillness’ in stanza 1, and it is the last of the series of sibilants, or hissing sounds (s, sh, z) that run through the poem, building up to the Fly’s ‘buzz’... ... While there are those who see fly as a statement of nihilism that ridicules the notion that death is transcendence, others see the image as more ambiguous. For all its mindless uncertainty, the fly is a symbol of blind, persistent life, and as such, worth clinging to until the very final instant of consciousness. (Leiter, 104) ‘A wounded deer’ is a narrative of a hunter that explains to the poet how a wounded deer behaves when
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But it was her sister Lavinia who was the closest to her, just like her, Lavinia lived a life of single-blessedness and in practical seclusion from the outside world. It was also Lavinia who discovered the 40 volumes of poetry right after Emily’s death and brought this to the attention of her family.
The scientific name of this butterfly is Danaus plexippus (US Forest Service, 2). The species, comes under the family, Danaidae and genus, Dannaus (Garber, 76). All the members of this genus, including Monarch butterflies feed on alkaloid-rich plants (Capinera, 2460).
Despite their lack of wealth, the Dickinson family was still considered to be incredibly successful. Growing up, Dickinson was viewed by family, friends, and teachers alike as a recluse. Even as a child, she was seldom seen with other children, including her own two siblings.
Because no human can experience it and then relate the experience, the poet is always approaching the topic a priori. As such, every poet presents death as a different experience based on his or her interpretation.
At the same time, she experimented with expression in her manner of writing poetry which is considered to be an attempt to free poetry from its conventional restraints as she has chosen to highlight death being a spectacle than a mournful situation (Poetry Foundation).
According to the paper, the main character, Emily, was depicted as a round character, whose personality and traits were clearly established and expounded throughout the story. Emily is considered the protagonist, being the lead character, while the rest of are generally flat characters whose personalities were structured as simple descriptions.
By focusing on her eccentric and idiosyncratic characters, it will be shown that Emily’s personality was a direct consequence of the stifling patriarchal influences and class-associated pride, which eventually dissolved her natural sense womanhood and converted her into an inexplicable and bizarre personality.
She was born on the 10th of December in the year 1830 in Massachusetts, passing away at the age of fifty six years on May 15, 1886. She has written innumerable poetry but most of it seems to have the common themes related to death, religion and even nature to a little extent.
In her poem “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died - “, she focuses on a small detail within the room of someone who dies, the speaker of the poem being the recently deceased. The poem reads as a commentary about the moment of death, stripping away the mystery, and creating a moment in time in which the simplest of distractions takes precedence.
Emily Dickinson’s poem, The Brain is wider than the Sky, is unique because it considers these aspects. Its uniqueness is further evident from its relevance to the categories of criticisms. These criticisms include formalist, biographical, contemporary neuroscience, psychoanalytic and philosophy of mind criticisms.
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