How does Dickinson present death and the afterlife in ‘I heard a fly buzz-when I died’?
In poem 465 Emily Dickinson presents death and the afterlife as something she is uncertain of, this is shown through the juxtaposition of the post death perspective (suggesting that she does believe in the afterlife) and the fly as a metaphorical reminder for physical decay of the body after death (suggesting there is no life after death. This uncertainty causes Dickinson to be unsure about her own faith and beliefs about life after death and her uncertainty is shown through the fragmentation, which establishes the detachment, Dickinson’s uncertainty of death and the afterlife are also shown in poem 501 and 712,
In poem 465 Dickinson presents death and the afterlife with a sense of dislocation portraying her as detached from the physical world ‘I heard a fly buzz-when I died’ indicates to the reader that the speaker is communicating from beyond the grave and is no longer alive reinforcing the idea of spiritual life. The dashes in the first line conveys the idea that she is further away from the physical world, another way Dickinson reinforces the idea of afterlife is in poem 501 ‘The World is not a Conclusion’ Dickinson capitalises ‘World’ and ‘Conclusion’ the use of the capital letters add importance to the words and the emphasis establishes her belief of an afterlife. The sense of distancing that is prominent in all three poems could be symbolic for how Dickinson felt in society as she often alienated herself as she didn’t have the same beliefs as everyone else at the time, this is shown through the use of synecdoche and dashes, which highlights the distance between the speaker and the mourners. The sense of detachment is reinforced through the constant onomatopoeic ‘buzz(ing)’ sound conveys Dickinson as distracted conveying a strong sense of dislocation this also shown in poem 280 ‘I felt a funeral in my brain’ the metaphorical language portrays how her mental...
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