The five poems by Emily Dickenson “Tell all the truth but tell it slant,” “Success is counted sweetest,” “I heard a fly buzz—when I died,” and “Because I could not stop for death,” and the short story by Ernest Hemingway “Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” all could be connected through the common theme of death. Furthermore they each presented different reasons, emotions, and yearnings towards death.
Through Ernest Hemingway’s piece and “Success is counted sweetest,” I can see these two authors trying to say do whatever it takes to get what you want in life because you will not die happy until you do. Francis is a coward the majority of his life until the last few moments and those are the moments that he was the happiest. It didn’t matter that it took him all of his life to be a man but in the end he finally did. His extreme yearning to be tough connects to this poem as well because he was so happy and he appreciated his victory so much more when he finally succeeded. Just like the poem says, “Success is counted sweetest By those who ne’er succeed.” He was so far away from proving himself as a “real man” because every time he tried, he failed –never succeeding. The yearning was so great that he would give his life just to taste the sweet success for a few moments.
“Tell the truth but tell it slant,” relates to Francis’s wife because she secretly lies to him his entire life afraid that telling him he’s a coward is too harsh. This poem warns the reader to beware of the power of the truth but lies are more powerful. In Francis’s case the truth was not told and therefore the lies that hid the truth were harmful, leading to his wife murdering him. In a way killing him was her way of telling him the truth representing the power of the truth and the harm of the lies.
“I heard a fly buzz—when I died,” and “Because I could not stop for death,” both represent the powers of death. The first poem uses an inanimate object—a fly—to distract the reader and the author from death. The poem shows the real power of death at the end when it commences with the first rhyme in the entire poem. The precise ending in the poem is in parallel with then ending of life. Similarly, the second poem tries distracting the reader by bringing death on a journey through her life starting with birth. It is as if death is trying to fool her into thinking it is a good thing when it is not. When in fact, the title shows as if she wanted to run from death but could not escape and the author uses words such as “quivering and chill,” as she nears the end of her life. Death is not portrayed as happy through these poems, but in fact powerful and trapping.