The idea and personification of death are the main themes of Emily Dickinson’s “I heard a fly buzz - when I died-“ and “Because I could not stop for Death-.” In both poems, death is portrayed in different ways than normally thought of. This is important because it makes the reader think about death, and how it peaceful. The concept of death also makes the reader think about life and how he or she wants to live theirs out.
In “I heard a fly buzz-when I died,” the speaker describes the time she spent on her deathbed. During this time, there is one main distraction. This distraction is a fly, which flies around the room buzzing. Not only is this fly distracting the speaker from her death, but is actually described as death itself. The fly cuts the woman off from the light, and does not allow her to see. This is very interesting as death is described as something so tiny and insignificant when it is such a huge part of people’s lives. It allows for the reader to try and understand what death means to them.
In “Because I could not stop for Death,” Dickinson personifies death. She describes Death as a man who stops for her, and takes her on a trip. The trip is slow, very much like a funeral procession. It even takes steps along this procession, as they stop at a school, a field, and a house. This describes the life of a person, their coming of age, their working, and their life at home. It seems to me that Dickinson uses these images to describe everything that leads up to death in order to show what life is all about. This poem shows all that life is through death. It tells of everything we do up until we die. Essentially, the speaker is telling that no matter how we live, we will find Death. Also at the end, the speaker mentions eternity. It states that death is the final destination, and we will be there forever. Ultimately, this poem shows that no matter how one life’s their life and no matter where they go, they will always find Death.
In both poems, death is the main idea. The idea of conventional death is switched around. It is made to be a small part of someone’s life and a large part of someone’s life. With these different definitions of death, two perspectives are given, allowing the reader to figure out what death, and ultimately life mean to them.