How does "I Heard a Fly Buzz" express the characteristics of the American Romantic movement to which it belongs?

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"I Heard A Fly Buzz-when I died" contains several characteristics of the Romantic movement, particularly feelings of solitude and introspection.

The premise of the poem reflects on the speakers' feelings of solitude.  The opening lines emphasize the loneliness in terms of the overwhelming quiet of the setting:

"The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air" (2-3).

Even in the second stanza describing the silence of the people attending the deathbed, Dickenson characterizes the watchers as desembodied parts--Eyes and Breaths.  The speaker feels little connection to them, and instead focuses on the silence, broken by the buzzing of the fly.  This poem is incredibly introspective, the final moments in death made internal through silence and the sound of a fly.

Read the study guide:
I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—

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