Sunday, 18 January 2009

Many people maybe will be scared if they hear about the death issue, remembering it will happen to all the people in the world. Death is the main theme that often to be spoken in modern British literature period, actually in 20th century. As two of many authors of this period, Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf often bring death issues as their works. As the Death is the main theme that often to be spoken, Dickinson writes down her works in a form of poem, while Woolf sends her works in a form of novel. Although both of them bring the same issue that is death, but they have different point of views in seeing the death.

Emily Dickinson is a prolific poet. Her poems “because I could not stop for death”, “I heard a fly-buzz when I died” and “I felt a funeral in my brain” all deal with one of life’s few certainties, death. Different from the most popular views of death being brutal and cruel, Dickinson makes death seem passive and easy. “Because I Could Not Stop For Death” is one of Dickinson’s most discussed and famous poem due to its ambiguous and unique view on popular subject of death. Her though, Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me…, through that sentence I assume that she considers death as something that is inevitable and natural.

Virginia Woolf is a novelist and critic. Through her work “Mrs. Dalloway”, we can see her view about the death, furthermore the novel Mrs. Dalloway has been adapted into a form of movie, titled “The Hours”, but I make a comparison and contrast from Woolf to Dickinson in viewing the death is not only from Mrs. Dalloway, but also from other essays. Woolf seems to be depressed by the people around her until death is always to be waited by her. She hopes that death will come her soon, until she commits to suicide by sinking herself into a river.

Both Dickinson and Woolf are the women writers that have taken death as one of the themes in their works. Dickinson views the death as something that is inevitable and unstoppable not because her life problems, while Woolf views death as the thing that can bring her from depressed life. She always waits the coming of death although she knows it as something that is cruel and brutal. Woolf does not consider the death as something that is natural and inevitable and it is very different from Dickinson’s views. She wants to be part of human race and considers death as the right choice, for Dickinson, she thinks that death is not the end of everything. She believes that people will be immortal after they died.

To contrast two things that seem to be similar is not an easy way to do. We need to understand about the things to find the differences. Although Dickinson or Woolf are the women writers that is counted the author in the modern British literature period, but they have different point of views in facing the death. As the Christians, they consider death as something that is important. Their background of life makes them have the different point of views of death.

1. Norton Anthology, Second Edition, Mc Millan, New York. 1995.


  1. jason said...
    In "I Heard A Fly Buzz When I Died," Dickinson shows that she knew a lot about poetic style and technique. She used rhyme and meter in careful and interesting ways, which lets us know that she had studied other poems.
    jason said...
    Even in a short poem like this, it's apparent that Dickinson was more than capable of digesting, responding to, and maybe even making fun of other works of literature. That’s part of the fun of Dickinson.

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