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I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –

I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –

by Emily Dickinson

The King

Symbol Analysis

This one is pretty mysterious. Someone or something is coming, and the speaker is waiting for him, or it, along with everyone around her. It has something to do with death, with the moment of crossing over, but the poem is pretty careful to not say exactly what.

  • Line 7: There are a few ways to think about this image of "the King." On the one hand, she might be referring to death itself, which does sort of run the show, when you think about it. If that were the case, we’d call that technique personification, since she is giving human qualities to an abstract idea. On the other hand, this could have a more specifically religious meaning. Maybe it’s a reference to God or Jesus. Certainly readers in Dickinson’s time wouldn’t have been surprised to find that kind of reference in a poem about death.

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