Emily Dickinson Many poets often have themes or topics for which most of their poetry falls under. One of the topics that frequent the writhing of Emily Dickinson is death. This is the case with I Felt a Funeral in my Brain, and I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died. In I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died the we receive the image of death by the description in the first stanza, the stillness round my form was like the stillness in the air between the heaves of storm. This stillness, like the stillness in the eye of the storm, does not change its surroundings, it is now constant. This is the image of death that is given, but the description goes on with: and breaths were gathering surely for that last onset, when the king be witnessed in his power.
The image of gathering breath to go and meet a king, suggests that they must have a lot of explaining to do. The speaker appears to be preparing to meet God. In the third stanza, the speaker sais, I willed my keepsakes, signed away what portion of me I could make assignable, this could speak of the will that the speaker made out. However, this is where the fly intervenes.
If the text is taken chronologically, then the speaker may already be dead, and perhaps giving of herself to the king. -and then interposed a fly, with blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz, the fact that the fly is blue may suggest royalty, perhaps the fly is a type of king also. However, the fly is not perfect as it has an uncertain, stumbling buzz. This fly may be symbolic of all the stumbling that the speaker has done, and we see it s affect in the last 3 lines between the light and me: and then the windows failed, and then I could not see to see. In this poem Dickinson uses language to describe the experience of death, that image seems to be one of frailty, that even a fly could have a profound effect.
The experience of death is also present in I felt a funeral in my brain. In the first stanza, the speaker talks of mourners, to and fro, kept treading, treading, till it seemed that sense was breaking through. This may be referring to the epiphanies that people often have when they are faced with death. In the second stanza there is a beating that made the speakers mind go numb.
In the next stanza, space begins to toll. Then, in the forth stanza, he is an ear, and the heavens a bell. All this stimulus, all of these things is affecting the speaker, making her progress. And then, in the last stanza, a plank of reason broke and I dropped down, and down, and hit a world at every plunge, and finished knowing then. In this poem, Emily Dickinson makes the comparison of death to learning, and then eventually after death finishes knowing.
This is much like the end of the speaker in the poem I heard a fly buzz when I died. The speakers in both of these poems have and end to light or knowledge, however in the first the culprit is a fly. Death has always been a question of men. However through poems such as these we gain an understanding of how others view this perplexing phenomenon.