Essay Example on Death's Bitter Grip: Emily Dickinson's Immortality

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1848 Words
Date:  2023-07-02


As known, the end of life, which is death, attracts Emily Dickinson very much. The theme of death is frequently used in Dickinson's poems. Attached to that, Dickinson also uses immorality and death in her poetry because she was mentally isolated from the material and physical world. The author even admits death's conscious role in her life through the letter she writes to Higginson, saying," death has given me awe of friends, striking early and sharp because of the brittle of love of alarum more than peace."

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Everywhere Emily Dickson went, death-haunted her, and since this was a problem, her role was to overcome. Death also prevailed around her in a natural phenomenon, as observed in life. It reached a point that death attracted Emily, and this conceivably made her study about it. Without doing this, she did not forget any funeral or death she saw. The essay will elaborate more on Emily Dickson's ideas on end with the use of three poems.

"Because I could not stop for Death."The poem is an exploration of both uncertainties and death, which shows what, happens to people immediately they die. The poem also talks about how women ride with personified death towards her place when they die. Dickson's matter-of-fact tone elaborates more on the fantastical nature of things happening to show that the journey was beyond her control (Mays 15). In this poem, it is unclear if the speaker is dead or she is about to die. Either way, death in this poem is presented as something strange, inescapable, and natural.

The opening lines of the poem define death clearly. Dickson herself is unable to stop dying, and so are other people, to show it cannot be stopped. As seen, death is presented as a gentleman stopping his carriage from allowing the speaker to climb on it (Ditson 102). The theme shows that death has an absolute comfort or acceptance to the speaker that involves a procedure that remains mysterious.

The carriage of the immortality of the other hand is not transparent because of the personified figure, such as a chaperone. However, the presence of immortality allows people to ask themselves what happens to them when they die. Here, immortality is ambiguous. The presence of this nature supports the Christian concept of the afterlife, similar to how it's seen in Dickinson's poems (Mays 24). Immortality, for instance, can be ironic to the point where it hints the nothingness feeling of waiting for death.

Either way, the inevitability of death is that it does not rush. In other words, no one needs to rush to bring death around because it comes automatically as a nature of life. The whole journey, in other words, contains unhurried purposes similar to reaching a given destination to make rushing unnecessary (Ditson 115). In stanza five, it is clear that the fields and schools stop the carriage.

This elaborates more on the various stages of life, from childhood, adulthood, and death. The sense of mysterious death in the poem is also analyzed in the final stanza because it is filled with contradiction and ambiguity (Mays 39). The speaker also shows that centuries ago, there was the carriage that passed the sights, but all that time, they have elapsed to a feeling shorter than a day. In the scheme of eternity, more than a hundred years may feel like a blip on the radar.

The contradiction of death is highlighted in the challenges of imagining eternity. Life, in other words, is measured by stages of life and time as people get old. As a result, they end up unfolding the truth about life as they grow old. However, the perception of time in death does not exist unless the afterlife exists. Indeed it is clear that inconclusiveness makes the poem to be convincing.

Death's calm and kind treatment of Dickinson signalled how comfortable people would become if they are Christians. In short, their entrance to eternity and heaven is more precise. The darker side of the poem is when it plays with the ideas of eternity and immortality to show that there is nothing as mysterious as the nothingness of death to show when that when someone dies, he is gone for good (Ditson 133).

"I Heard a Fly Buzz-When I Died"

The poem attempts to make the audience to imagine the transition between death and life. Even though the poem contains the question as to whether there is another life after death, it also conveys the uncertainties by elaborating more on the moments of death (Dickinson 75). Dickinson narrated this poem in an aspect of a person that has already died to show how ambiguous and mysterious the situation is because no one alive knows the feeling of death.

The author also tried to imagine how someone feels when they die by becoming sentimental during the final moments using a buzzing fly. Her ways perhaps show the sheer mundanity of death and how impossible it is to predict the day of eternity. Even though Dickinson recites the poem after her death, what she described took place before it also happened though she was on her death bed.

During her final moments, the air and the room are filled with stillness. There was an anticipation of death after the suggestion of blurriness was experienced between the two states as if there was a transition between death and cut by a slow crossfade (Mays 47). Another alternative is that people present in that room remained still to observe the change from life to death, especially when the speaker dies.

As a result, tension is created because every person is done with the sad part (after crying) awaiting for God to take the speaker away (Mays 49). A few critics stated that the transition as an emissary of death while others the grim ripper. In such a case, the absence of God undermines the certainties that the speaker has another life after death.

Instead of God coming to help the speaker in the transition from life to death, a stumbling buzz was heard from an uncertain fly (Dickinson 92). Surprisingly people though that it was the ambassador that came from the underworld which was sent. Even though many believed that the fly was an emissary of death or rather the grim ripper, it could also turn out to be an insect.

The fly, therefore, proves that the king is not present to undermine the uncertainties mentioned by the speaker. It is also annoying to hear the buzzing sound because it prevents the speaker from proving that spiritual grace or contemplation could fit the moment of transition (Mays 52). In short, the most spiritual moment in life is when a bug distracts someone that is about to die.

The fly, in this case, is a symbol of spiritual doubt that is airborne wandering the world wondering if the human is average. The power of the poem concerning death comes in when the fly is interpreted as insignificant and significant, meaningless and symbolic. Either way, death remains a mystery and people are unable to predict what comes after. Ultimately, the final note is left at the end of the poem with the 'failing' light of the window (Mays 69). It meant to show that the speaker cannot see beyond life even though she always spoke about the afterlife.

"I Felt A Funeral In My Brain"

"I felt a funeral in my brain" is a poem that traces the madness of the speaker. The poem is also terrifying for both the reader and the speaker. For instance, Dickinson goes through the loss of self in unconscious chaos, while the reader reads the descending madness of the speaker as the horror turns out to be crazy (Dickinson et al., 14). The author uses a metaphor in funerals to show how the speaker sensed that she was dying. This happened even though her reasoning was overwhelmed by the unconscious irrationality. As known, funerals have an appropriate image because of the ordeal of death.

Funerals are formal events whose procedures and rules suggest order and control. Such practices are ironic because of the lack of power from the rationality threatens the speaker. Also, funerals mark as the transition between lives to death, similar to how the speaker is passing from sanity to insanity (Dickinson et al., 28). The poet, however, does not observe the funeral but the feeling. She also turns out to be both of the participant and funeral to show the division. The end of the poem also shows that self can be shattered into chaos or pieces.

The author also uses the mourners as a metaphor to express how pain is brought by death. Their treading (repetition of the word to give solutions through specific actions) shows how she is under pressure (Dickinson et al., 36). The speaker also portrays a momentary impression that death is being lost or escaping from trouble. The pressure is even uttered in words' beating, beating" to show how the reasoning of the speaker is numb, thus deteriorating her health.

The loss of rationality can be traced as back as stanza three and four where her condition (of having a wrecked solitary is elaborated) (Dickinson et al., 47). Her decency of irrationality also separates the speaker from other people and categorizes her as a strange being. Her inability and alienation to communicate are also seen when she decides to be silent.

The last stanza of this poem shows how the author uses metaphors on a board or plank over a precipice to show the speaker's descent into the transition from life to death. In short, she wanted to show the audience how the speaker's rationality was insecure, which makes her world to fall apart (Dickinson et al., 65). Her descent is also defined as plunges to show the force and speed that made her fall into psychological chaos. The last stanza of the poem is left unfinished for the audience to see the horror of madness she went through before her death.


Emily Dickinson is well known for her poems. Most of them have secure messages to the audience either from life experience or something she has seen. Death is a cruel thing that does not choose. Dickinson has also seen a lot of people dying until she started asking herself where people go. That is why she decided to write three poems (Because I could not stop for death", "I heard a fly buzz when I died", and "I felt a funeral in my brain") to elaborate more the meaning of death. The author also tried to tell the audience that when people die, they go to another world. Despite her efforts, none of the poems revealed if there is a transition between life and death.

Works Cited

Dickinson, Emily, et al. I Felt a Funeral in My Brain: a Poem. Red Angel Press, 2002.

Dickinson, Emily, and Petra Press. I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died. Petra Press, 2006.Ditson, Anne Catherine. Because I Could Not Stop for Death: a Dramatic Portrait of Emily Dickinson. 1970.

Mays, Kelly J. The Norton Introduction to Literature. 3rd ed., W. W. Norton & Company, 2020.

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Essay Example on Death's Bitter Grip: Emily Dickinson's Immortality. (2023, Jul 02). Retrieved from

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