The Bustle in a House Emily Dickinson
The Bustle in a House The Morning after Death Is solemnest of industries Enacted upon Earth– The Sweeping up the Heart And putting Love away We shall not want to use again Until Eternity.
The Title • “The Bustle in a House” • It's a poem that talks about getting ready for something or doing something - there's action.
Poem Structure • Stanzas: 2 • Lines in each stanza: 4 • Total lines in poem: 8
The Story • People are preparing for a funeral/burial for someone that died the previous night. The people are overcoming their grief by "putting their love away" until they see that person again in Heaven. • One of the mourners is speaking to the other mourners/people dealing with the loss of a loved one.
Literary Elements • Mood: Calm, accepting, placid. There aren't any specific words - it's just the overall feel. • Metaphor: First stanza • Hyperbole: “solemnest of industries” • Symbolism/Imagery: “Sweeping up the Heart”
Stanzas • The first stanza talks about the physical affairs after a death, and the second stanza talks about the mental/emotional affairs. • Rhyme scheme: slant rhyme, ABCB DEFE • Rhythm: The first three lines of each stanza have the same rhythm, but the last line of each stanza doesn't fit the same pattern.
Critical Thinking Questions • 1. What words does the speaker use to suggest everyday household chores? • “Sweeping,” “putting ... away” • 2. To what type of chores is Dickinson really referring? • Cleaning the house for visitors, readying the body, overcoming the grief, etc.
Critical Thinking Questions cont. • 3. According to the second stanza, when will we again “use” the love we put aside on the morning after death? • When we see the person again in Eternity • 4. What might this suggest about Dickinson’s faith? • She might’ve believed in life after death/Heaven • 5. How does the line length function in this poem? • Slightly choppy and uncomfortable, but somber and serious
GOING to heaven! I don’t know when, Pray do not ask me how,— Indeed, I’m too astonished To think of answering you! Going to heaven!— How dim it sounds! And yet it will be done As sure as flocks go home at night Unto the shepherd’s arm! Going to Heaven! Perhaps you’re going too! Who knows? If you should get there first, Save just a little place for me Close to the two I lost! The smallest “robe” will fit me, And just a bit of “crown”; For you know we do not mind our dress When we are going home. I’m glad I don’t believe it, For it would stop my breath, And I’d like to look a little more At such a curious earth! I am glad they did believe it Whom I have never found Since the mighty autumn afternoon I left them in the ground.