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I heard a fly buzz when I died
Transcript of 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 -
I willed my Keepsakes - Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable - and then it was
There interposed a Fly -
With Blue - uncertain - stumbling Buzz -
Between the light - and me -
And then the Windows failed - and then
I could not see to see - Paraphrase When I died, I heard a fly buzz.
The room was silent and still,
Much like the calm in the air
Between the raging surges of a storm.
Everyone's eyes were dry: there were no more tears to cry.
Everyone held their breath, gathering courage.
We anticipated the last big moment in my life,
We waited for the moment when God should physically
Bestow his presence upon our company.
I gave away all of my possessions,
At least, what can be given away.
But a Fly suddenly came between-
With a sad, uncertain, stumbling buzz-
The light and me.
And then I closed my eyes-
And died. Main Points The voice of the poem seems to come from the afterlife, as though the narrator seems to be telling it postmortem. She speaks of her last moments, the finality of her existence. The air is tense as everyone anticipates the death. She's given away all her possessions and there are no more tears to cry, as they've accepted that she will die and are ready to move on: to get back on with their lives and dismiss her into the afterlife. Now they anxiously await her passing, almost expecting God himself to come take her away. Ironically, a common housefly appears instead. Everyone seems incredulous that such a lowly, simple creature could invade the narrator's dramatic death. Finally, the narrator dies swiftly and painlessly, with the fly present instead of God, giving death a more realistic aspect. About Emily Born December 10, 1830; died May 15, 1886. 55 years old. She was very private and reclusive; she always lived in her hometown, Amhurst, Massachusetts, and never left her house during the last few years of her life, not allowing anyone to see her. She wrote hundreds of poems, mostly concerning death, immortality, and love. Emily was descended from Puritans, and strict religious views were pressed upon her, to which she resisted. Dickinson started dressing in white after her father died, perhaps symbolizing religious purity and escaping death. She could have also been wearing white to mock marriage, after she had been rejected by the [married] man she loved. Most of her poems were published postmortem, which is why the poem we chose for this project is exceptionally suiting. Analysis Emily Dickinson’s poem “I heard a Fly buzz- when I died” is portraying how she thinks it would be like to die. Dickinson applies a few metaphors such as the fly to represent physical death; and she uses windows to compare with the speaker’s eyes. She uses imagery in lines three and four when she describes the quiet moment before a storm that is full of energy. The poem has exaggeration when Dickinson says that “…Eyes around- had wrung them dry-…” in live five. Then personification in line six when “…breaths gathering firm…” Dickinson also uses an oxymoron in line seven when the “last Onset” was used because it literally means 'the last beginning'. There are many examples of symbolism in this poem. Dickinson uses a common house fly to represent the physical death. The speaker expects the “King” (God) to arrive with the gift of eternal life and only the fly appears with its promise of only death. The storm in line three and four can be interpreted that it represents the “drama” of what happened to cause the speaker’s death state, and also more “drama” to follow. The words the “last Onset” in line eight symbolize the afterlife or eternal life that the “King” would bring. Connections Poetic Devices Text:Text In Dick Tripp’s poem, “Hamish” he describes the funeral scene of a little boy that died and expresses everyone’s hope and belief that the boy will meet God in heaven. Tripp says, “...And so, in faith we journey on, we trust, if cannot see...” Both of these poems are similar in the way that Dickinson is raising the question of if there is an eternal life, and Tripp is explaining what he believes will happen when God finally comes and gives eternal life to the deceased. Text:Self Text:World Dickinson does a great job of illustrating what it is like when one expects something to happen and then it does not. The speaker anticipated the King to arrive to take him or her to the Promised Land when he or she died but only an ordinary fly appeared. It must have been a major disappointment to the speaker. Many people have experienced frustrations of things not going the way one would plan or count on. It happens every day, but not all encounters have been as big as being wrong about your faith at death. Questions of life after death and events happening that were not expected are common things in our world. The afterlife is a hot topic in political debates, school scenes, and in the workplace; and Emily Dickinson displays this common thing in her poem. Chaos can result in unexpected things happening; like if we expect Congress to come up with a solution for the Fiscal Cliff and they cannot, then there will be millions of people unhappy about the outcome, just like the disappointment the speaker would have felt when only the fly came. Elements of the Poem This poem is a bit depressing in the way of the author is portraying what she thinks it would be like to die. Dickinson opens the question of do we have the promised eternal life when we die, or is there nothing more than the physical death? The beginning also describes the mental distraction with something so unimportant like a fly at the critical time of death. The poem is overall depressing and almost dark, but in stanza three there is a bleep of deep emotion the speaker would be going through when the he or she is signing away his or her possessions and keepsakes to those the speaker loves. The rhyme scheme the author uses is ABCB and Dickinson kept her poem smooth and easy to read by using a simple meter. Every line is divided into two syllables and there are four stanzas with four lines each.