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What Is The Meaning Of Emily Dickinson’s Poetry Is To Die For

Emily Dickinson is one of the greatest poets in America’s history. Even though her works were published posthumously, she still managed to leave an impact on her readers with her unique style of poetry. Through her works, Dickinson challenged the stereotypes surrounding poetry during her time. By employing unique and unconventional styles of writing, Dickinson was able to capture the battles she was fighting with her inner demons.

Dickinson allows readers a look into her dark and personal life, and proves that, despite their label, introverts are capable of writing about the world. The meaning of Dickinson’s poem “A Bird Came Down,“ seems very blatant at first. After reading it only once, readers might assume Dickinson is merely writing an account about seeing a bird fly down, eat a worm, and then fly off. After closer reading, readers can infer that Dickinson was actually talking about her introverted lifestyle.

Dickinson proves to readers that she does not have to be an extrovert to have spectacular experiences. Through observation, Dickinson is able to describe a simple experience as a monumental one. Some might argue that Dickinson is simply writing about the mannerisms of a bird; however, Dickinson is depicting the bird as herself. In this poem, she captures the wild essence of a bird that is able to leave at any given time, and she wishes she could do the same. While the bird is just leaving where he is at the moment, Dickinson desires to leave this life.

While this dark desire is not obvious in this poem, it is outlined more specifically in “I Heard a Fly Buzz–When I Died. ” “I Heard a Fly Buzz–When I Died” is a rather morbid view of death. Dickson relates the stillness in the room to the calm before a storm, and she recalls taking her last breaths while she thinks about signing her will and taking care of her earthly duties. While she is peacefully dying, something interrupts her passing–a small and insignificant fly buzzing. The fly is symbolic of life.

Dickinson is ready to die, and she is eager to do so, but this fly has an ulterior motive. It will not let her die peacefully; it keeps waking her up from her eternal sleep. The punctuation in the poem is indicative of her breathing pattern before she dies, and the abundance of punctuation toward the end shows that her breathing is quickening because she is getting aggravated with the fly continuing to interrupt her death. When the fly ceases to buzz, Dickinson says the windows failed and then she could not see to see.

The windows (Dickinson’s eyes) finally shut and she died in peace despite life trying to get in her way and prevent her from dying. Death wins in “I Heard a Fly Buzz–When I Died,” and it also wins in Dickinson’s darker poem “Because I Could Not Stop for Death. ” Readers are able to see the darker side of Dickson in one of her more popular poems, “Because I Could Not Stop for Death. ” In this poem, Dickinson allows readers to see her burning desire for death and dying.

Because death and dying were Dickinson’s favorite topics for her poetry, she has come to befriend the idea of death. By befriending the idea of death, she humanizes Death and makes him a real person in this poem. One small way she does so is by capitalizing the first letter in “death. ” By doing this, she makes death a proper noun with a title and makes him seem like a real and personable human instead of a nightmarish Grimm Reaper figure. In the first stanza, Dickinson says that Death kindly stopped for her.

He was chivalrous about picking her up in the carriage (hearse) and taking her to her ultimate destination. In the second stanza, she tells readers that she had put away her labor and leisure so she would not keep him waiting, but readers can tell that Death came at an inconvenient time for her. She was only wearing a gossamer gown and a tulle tippet when he arrived, so she was not anticipating his visit, but she was so eager to go with him that she left anyway.

On the way to her grave, they pass the setting sun which tells readers that her life is quickly coming to the end. Dickinson shows readers that the journey to death is not frightening. Instead, she describes her ride to her grave as peaceful and comforting. Throughout the poem, she assures readers that Death is not something to be scared of because he is approachable and kind to those who ride in his carriage, and she encourages readers to go with Death when he comes for them. Through these three poems, there is one common theme–chivalry.

The bird was chivalrous enough to move out of the beetle’s way, Dickinson was chivalrous enough to take care of her earthly duties so no one would have to take care of them for her, and Death was chivalrous enough to kindly stop for her and drive slowly. Dickinson shows us that, even though she did not have much contact with people, she still knew how to treat them. This recurring theme of chivalry shows Dickinson’s character as displayed through her poetry. Even though she was ready to leave this life, she was still respectful and chivalrous to people while she was waiting to leave this world.

Dickinson was truly a unique writer of her time. While most of her writings did relate to morbid things such as death and dying, her poetry magnified the beauty of the two. Her writing shows that death does not always mean ceasing to live but perhaps beginning to live. Without her poetry, readers would never have such a firm grasp on the reality of life. Even though Dickinson did not venture out into the real world often, her poetry shows readers that introverts were more than capable of writing beautiful poetry about the world around them despite preconceived notions.

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