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All of these scenes indicate that there might be little more than nothing after life. This poem allows us to see that Dickinson was not happy with accepting the traditional attitudes toward death and dying.
Another poem that examines death is "The Bustle in the House." Again, we see death is uneventful. Elizabeth Piedmont-Marton claims that in Dickinson's poetry, "the moment of death seems often less momentous than ordinary" (Piedmont-Marton) and it is "one of the most disturbing and powerful characteristics of Dickinson's poems" (Piedmont-Marton). "The Bustle in the House," demonstrates this assertion very well with its idea of humanity continuing to get along with the "industries" (the Bustle in the House 3) of life after a loved one dies. The heart of the dead is swept up (4), making it seem like the process of death needs a clean sweep and that is it. Mourning is nothing more than a household chore and it is best done quickly. Piedmont-Marton asserts that "by suggesting that the rituals of grief are like the rituals of domestic duty, Dickinson offers a measure of consolation: death is a stage in a cycle, not an end; love will return in time" (Piedmont-Marton). We have another perspective on lie and death from the poet that seemed to be neither afraid to live or die.
We also see the poet's opinion regarding humanity. In "Tell All the Truth but Tell it Slant," we see how the poet sees her fellow man as weak and frail because he cannot deal with the truth in its entirety. The poem opens up with advice, urging us be honest but to do with a "slant" (Tell All the Truth but Tell it Slant 1). By doing so, there is less of a chance of hurting someone. The poet repeats this point by saying, "Success in circuit lies" (2). While these ideas seem to contradict themselves, they do not. The speaker is simply asserting that complete and total honesty will do more harm than good. The connection between success and lies in interesting in that it seems to suggest that dishonesty is the only way to be truthful. This poem illustrates the poet's strength because she understands the complexity and the frailty of mankind.
Emily Dickinson was a magnanimous poet that could see from within her room what astronomers and world travelers often cannot. She was a poet that embraced life and did so comfortably because she did not let anyone tell her how to live. Although she lived her life in the same town until the day she dies, she was an explorer - and a brave one at that. She looked at and considered many things that so many people are afraid to think about, much less face. "Some keep the Sabbath going to Church," "The Soul Selects Her Own Society," "Because I Could Not Stop for Death," "I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died," "Tell All the Truth but Tell it Slant," and "The Bustle in the House" show us the strength of the poet. She had no problem facing who she was while she was living or where she might be going in the afterlife.
Dickinson, Emily. "Because I Could Not Stop for Death." The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. 8th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's Press. 2009.
Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died." The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. 8th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's Press. 2009.
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church." The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. 8th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's Press. 2009.
Tell All the Truth but Tell it Slant. " the Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. 8th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's Press. 2009.
The Soul Selects Her Own Society." The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. 8th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's Press. 2009.
The Bustle in the House." The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. 8th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's Press. 2009.
Foerster, Norman. "Emily Dickinson." Bartleby Online. Site Accessed August 08, 2008. http://www.bartleby.com/227/0302.html
Piedmont-Marton, Elisabeth. "Overview of "The Bustle in the House." The Gale Group…[continue]
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