Wednesday, July 16, 2008

THERE’S BEEN A DEATH IN THE HOUSE OPPOSITE By EMILY DICKINSON






Introduction:
Death is viewed as a normal occurrence. It is not necessarily something to be feared. The children, however, do experience a slight sense of fear as they pass the house in mourning and see the mattress that has been recently thrown out of the house concerned. The dead person loses his/her sense of identity because of the word “It” that has been used by the poet.

First stanza
• Someone died today in the house opposite the persona’s house
• The house in mourning looks stiff and lifeless just like a corpse.

Second stanza
• The people from around that area come to visit the grieving family, to pay respect and also to help out in the time of need
• The doctor comes and goes after confirming the death
• A window is opened quickly and suddenly

Third stanza
• An old custom of getting rid of the mattress the person died on – for hygienic and superstitious reasons
• The children feel scared and walk quickly when passing the house
• They tend to wonder if “It” (the dead person) passed away on that mattress

Fourth stanza
• The priest visits the mourning family in a serious manner
• Those who are grieving and children have a sense of the respect for the priest

Fifth stanza
• A woman’s hat maker comes to take a fitting of the dead person
• The undertaker comes to measure the coffin for the dead
• The preparation is for the funeral procession

Sixth stanza
• Tassels and coaches are part of the funeral procession
• People can easily know there is a funeral by looking at it
• The news spreads very fast in a small town

Tone/Mood
1. Matter-of-fact (dealing with death)
2. Fear (especially children are normally afraid of death)
3. Sadness (the loss of a family member or someone you know)

Theme
The theme is death and it is seen as part and parcel of life death happens and this one in the opposite house is the most recent occurrence as it happened “As lately as today”.

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