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I heard a Fly buzz - when I died - Summary & Analysis
by Emily Dickinson

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"I heard a Fly buzz - when I died" was written by the American poet Emily Dickinson in 1862, but, as with most Dickinson poems, it was not published during her lifetime. It has since become one of her most famous and one of her most ambiguous poems, talking about the moment of death from the perspective of a person who is already dead. On the one hand, this death seems to follow standard protocol—the speaker is on their deathbed and surrounded by mourners, and their will is squared away. However, the irritating figure of the fly arrives and undermines the seriousness and gravity of the occasion. Though spoken from the great beyond, the poem offers no easy answers about death, instead casting doubt on religious and social comforts.

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