When describing her life at school, Ruth said she had to memorize the poem “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died.” What can this related to Ruth?What can the poem tell us about Ruth's story? The...

When describing her life at school, Ruth said she had to memorize the poem “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died.” What can this related to Ruth?

What can the poem tell us about Ruth's story?

The poem “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died” was by Emily Dickenson

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epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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The fly is an intrusion upon what should be a serious occasion; it is “uncertain, stumbling,” and therefore it is comic. With respect to the tone, the fly saves the imaginary situation from becoming sentimentalized because it represents reality and everyday life. As it were, the fly enables Dickinson to focus on the seriousness of the last lines, and to deepen their humanness because they describe real life more adequately than tearful farewells by vigil-keepers would do.

The last two lines constitute a powerful ending. They are connected to the sound and light represented by the fly because the fly interposes itself between the light and the speaker. Thus, the phrase “the Windows failed” is logical in the narrative because the speaker has been conscious of the fly outlined against the light. The use of Windows is a metonym—the substitution of one thing (Windows) for another with which it is closely associated (light), and here it emphasizes the idea that death is a termination of the world externally as well as internally.

In the last line, “see to see” is a way of describing death as a loss of capacity. The first see is thus the power to perceive, and the second see is the visual function of this power. Perhaps this is the way she felt about school.

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