25 April 2007
The Ultimate Destiny of All Living Things in “I Heard a Fly Buzz- When I Died” and “Thanantopsis”
Throughout time many people have used writing as a tool to share ideas or feelings with others. Although there are many forms of writing, poetry is one way in which ideas may be expressed in an artistic manner. Samuel Taylor Coleridge best describes poetry saying, “I wish our clever young poets would remember my homely definitions of prose and poetry; that is, prose,—words in their best order; poetry,—the best words in their best order.” Poetry can vary in subject, tone, structure, and literary device. One subject that some poets choose to express their ideas about is an inevitable part of life, death. While there are many interesting views about death, none are more comfortable and accepting than Emily Dickinson's "I Heard a Fly Buzz- When I Died" and William Cullen Bryant's "Thanatopsis."
Dickinson's "I Heard a Fly Buzz- When I Died" exposes a calm and comfortable view of death. The factual and concise narrative describes a woman's mental distraction, a fly, as she is lying on her deathbed. Through her tone and literary devices such as metaphor and imagery, Dickinson reveals her acceptance of death the revelations that death brings. The reader finds the tone of the poem to be calm, comfortable, and even flat. The reader understands this tone through the concise and factual stanzas. Although, the speaker understands the facts of her impending death, she is not fearful or overly emotional in her depiction of it. Dickinson uses
literary devices such as metaphor and irony to give the reader a better image of the incidents that are occurring in the poem. Very early, the speaker makes it clear that she has an accurate understanding of what is happening to her and what is going on in the room. For example, the speaker begins the poem with a description of the stillness in the room around her, and compares it to...