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The Eyes

Symbol Analysis

We don’t actually get to see who else is in the room with the dying speaker, but she does help us out by telling us that there are "Eyes around." This helps us to fill in the blanks of the scene. At first we just had a dying person and a fly, but now we can start to imagine the room where this is taking place, complete with crying onlookers.

  • Line 5: There must be whole people here, but all we hear about are "The Eyes." When a part of something is made to stand in for the whole thing like this, we call that synecdoche. It’s a neat way for her to give a little detail that our imaginations can turn into an entire story. When she says that "The Eyes around – had wrung them dry – " we know a number of things immediately. There are other people here. They love this dying person enough to cry. They are also beyond crying – maybe exhausted, maybe finally at peace with what is happening. One line, and we get a whole scene, a whole emotional and physical landscape. That’s why Emily Dickinson is awesome.

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