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In the poem "I heard a fly buzz--when I died--," what is the tone and mood of this poem?

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lfowler13 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 3, 2012 at 5:23 PM via web

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In the poem "I heard a fly buzz--when I died--," what is the tone and mood of this poem?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted June 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM (Answer #1)

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In this poem, the speaker's tone is calm, even flat. There is a calmness to the speaker's tone that causes the reader to realize death is a natural part of life. 

The speaker is as a ghost or spirit. She is watching the events that take place at death. She does not seem annoyed by the fly. She is calm in describing the events that take place at death. 

The tone of the poem is calm, dreamy, almost completely relaxed, as if the speaker was floating away. We think that tone makes her sound just like a ghost...

The speaker's tone is so calm until death does not seem real. If it were not for the spectators, this point of death would be so serene until one would be surprised that any felt sadness enough to weep. 

The passage of death has an unsettling, disconnected tone but is not scary or painful. Death is painless. The stillness in the room creates a most peaceful passing. The tone is so calm until the reader does not get upset at the theme of death. Death is as natural as the buzzing of a fly. 

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meme2728 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted June 3, 2012 at 6:17 PM (Answer #2)

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     The writer, Emily Dickinson, was exposed to death constantly in her earlier years and was traumatized by this. Many of her poems, thus, revolved around the theme of death. In "I heard a Fly buzz - when I died-" the writer has accepted death as a natural progression of life. By welcoming death, the poem's tone becomes calm yet detached in a way. The tone is also somber because of the actions and feelings portrayed by those around her ('The Eyes around - Had wrung them dry' shows the grief that is present at the time of the narrator's death). There is a peaceful mood that is seemingly dignified because of how death is not feared but embraced instead. 

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