Emily Dickinson (#389) The speaker in Dickinsons poem is noticeably outside the main action of the poem. The first line makes that clear: “Theres been a Death, in the Opposite House.” Dickinson creates a patchwork story that the reader and speaker create through Dickinsons poem, based on outside clues and speculation. In Dickinsons poem, each stanza has a central focus; the focus is an action or an image, each one providing more certainty to the belief that there has been a death. These images and actions lead up to the eventual, haunting realization that there will be a funeral procession. Dickinson also cleverly plays with words, puns, and sound associations. The attitude and emphasis of her poem comes as the poem builds, surprising offering no comfort on the subject of death at the end. In Dickinsons poem, the death seems to have just occurred, perhaps an hour or twoat the very least “As lately as Today.” In Dickinsons poem, the actions of the characters appear to be the more immediate concerns of postmortemairing out the house, discarding the mattress of the deceased, etc. Dickinsons poem is somber. The very list of characters that come and go and “hurry by” the death house is something not unlike the funeral procession that Dickinson alludes to near the end of her poem, as the “Dark Parade.” The neighbors are first to arrive, second only to the immediate family, whose members are surely already inside. Then the Doctor comes and goes, followed by the removal of the mattress (maybe there are germs on the mattress). At this point, the person is finally dead, and those people who were not as close to the person can now join in this “procession” of visitation. The somber tone comes through in some of the word choices as well. The house itself has a “numb look” to it. The mortician, or perhaps the coffin-maker, is described as belonging to “the Appalling Trade.” The “pall” in Appa…
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