Scrutinizing Patterns (a Structuralism Approach on Five of Emily Dickinson’s Poems About Death)

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Many of Emily Dickinson’s poems deal with the different contexts of death. There is a recurring pattern in terms of the form of her poems. Her poems are also very rich in imageries, symbolisms, figures of speech, and unconventional grammar. The poems that would be discussed in this paper are as follows: "I heard a Fly buzz — when I died", , "The last Night that She lived", "Because I could not stop for Death", “I felt a Funeral in my Brain”, and “Safe in the Alabaster Chambers”. Although death is one of the most used themes of Emily Dickinson in her poems, the readers wouldn’t feel boring because those poems provide us with different perspective of life and death. Through Dickinson’s poems, we are able to see death as sometimes gentle, sometimes menacing, and sometimes simply inevitable. However, these different understandings of death could be her way of imagining, knowing, or informing us what death is. Most of these poems of Emily Dickinson are written in quatrains and usually rhyming only on the second and fourth lines. Other stanzas show triplets or pairs of couplets, and some employ longer, looser, and more complicated stanzas. In “I heard a Fly buzz –when I died”, Dickinson is somewhat investigating the physical process of dying. Certainly, the first line describes the moment of the speaker’s death. With this, the speaker lets us know that she is already dead. The persona proceeds to leave his or her worldly possessions but while engaged in this, his attention is caught by a fly's buzzing. However, the fly may also symbolized the decay of a person’s body. In terms of form, the lines in this poem are all written in perfect iambic meter. There are four quatrains each with four lines. The first and the third lines in each quatrain have eight syllables (iambic tetrameter). The second and fourth lines each have six syllables (iambic trimeter). Another thing

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