A Short Analysis of Emily Dickinson’s ‘I heard a Fly buzz – when I died’

A bold interpretation of a thought-provoking subject for a poet and us all eventually

Interesting Literature

A critical reading of a classic Dickinson poem

Death is a theme that looms large in the poetry of Emily Dickinson (1830-86), and perhaps no more so than in the celebrated poem of hers that begins ‘I heard a Fly buzz – when I died’. This is not just a poem about death: it’s a poem about the event of death, the moment of dying. Below is the poem, and a brief analysis of its language and meaning.

I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –

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