This week’s poems were focused on a single author, Emily Dickinson. This collection was centered around the themes of death and despair. Her poems “Success is counted sweetest,” “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—,” “Because I could not stop for Death--,” and “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—“ all dabble in the inevitability of death and its commonality in today’s society. Both “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—“ and “Because I could not stop for Death—“ both illustrate the actual act of dying while “Success is counted sweetest” and “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—“ demonstrate the difficulties of striving towards our goals before our death.
“Because I could not stop for Death—“ illustrates the acceptance of death as a part of the life process. Dickenson uses phrases such as “He kindly stopped for me—“ to illustrate that death is a natural process that happens to us all (2). The author also uses dashes to demonstrate that although the speaker is not ready to depart to the afterlife, by delaying the time it takes to read each line. For example, he said “Or rather—He passed Us—“ to signify her attempts to delay the process of death (13). By the end of the poem, however, the speaker has resigned to realize that it is their time to depart to the afterworld. This is illustrated by the decreasing amount of dashes used. Dickenson, in this poem, uses diction and form to convey her message that although death is a natural process, it is usually not wanted.
“I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—“ illustrates the mystery of death and the presence of an afterlife. This poem proves that the speaker is uncertain if there is life after death, which is illustrated when it is said that “Between the light—and me--/ And then the Windows failed—and then/ I could not see to see—“ (14-16). This demonstrates that the speaker is questioning whether or not she is going to travel to the afterlife after her death. This is seen when she uses the words light as well as Windows, which in my opinion signify heaven and the soul, respectfully. The author also uses the phrase “was like the Stillness in the Air—“ to illustrate the severity and importance of death because of how commonplace it is in our lives (3). These examples prove that we all have the common ending of death.
Both “Success is counted sweetest” and “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—“ illustrate all that has to be accomplished before death. In the first poem, the speaker demonstrates that we all die striving more in our lives. This is illustrated when said “the distant strains of triumph/ burst agonized and clear!” (11-12). This shows that we as human beings all strive to leaving the earth satisfied that we have done all that we can. This is also similar in the poem “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—“ because it says that living a life full of truth and honesty will be one more meaning and success. Throughout all of Emily Dickinson’s poems that we read for this week have an undertone of death and the uncertainty of the afterlife. We as individuals strive to be the best individuals that we can possibly be.