Analysis Of Because I Could Not Stop For Death Essay

Analysis of Because I Could Not Stop for Death Essay

1188 Words5 Pages

Emily Dickinson is one of the most important American poets of the 1800s. Dickinson, who was known to be quite the recluse, lived and died in the town of Amherst, Massachusetts, spending the majority of her days alone in her room writing poetry. What few friends she did have would testify that Dickinson was a rather introverted and melancholy person, which shows in a number of her poems where regular themes include death and mortality. One such poem that exemplifies her “dark side” is, “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”. In this piece, Dickinson tells the story of a soul’s transition into the afterlife showing that time and death have outright power over our lives and can make what was once significant become meaningless. While we now…show more content…

Our entire existence is constrained by time, not even allowing us the right of determining how or when our mortal lives draw to a close. The ensuing line states, “He kindly stopped for me” (Line 2). From this, the reader could possibly deduce that the narrator was glad to see death. Dickinson was known throughout her life to have been oddly fascinated with death and immortality, so it’s not out of the question to assume that this fascination was reflected in the narrator’s personality and was why death was welcomed. However, a more likely conclusion is that Dickinson was merely being ironic. Death is ominous as it is a leap into the unknown; we simply cannot fathom the eternity of afterlife. Taking us without consent from our lives (which we already have no power over), and thrusting us into an incomprehensible eternity is not exactly a kind act to commit, thus irony was used in this case. This further strengthens the idea that our lives are out of our control because with or without consent, death will choose to take a life whenever he pleases. The first stanza concludes by stating, “The carriage held but just ourselves/And Immortality” (Lines 3-4). These lines are used to acknowledge that there is a difference between death and time, because while they work in unison they still are not one and the same. Time has control over our lives during both mortality and

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Because I Could Not Stop for Death Analysis Essay

1972 WordsAug 12th, 20108 Pages

“Because I Could Not Stop For Death” Analysis

The poem, “Because I Could Not Stop For Death,” by Emily Dickinson

presents captivating themes on the cycle of life, time, and death. The first two lines,

“Because I could not stop for death - / He kindly stopped for me – “ (Dickinson 679;

Stanza 1, Line 1 & 2), capture the poem’s central theme, but the interpretations of

that theme vary widely. This variation would have to do with how one would

interpret Death. The three varied elements that are used to describe the theme are

the civil character of Death, how Death has to do with the eternal life and, and

sailing through time in order to look back at seeing the positives of living every day

life. One would…show more content…

Some examples of images that she sees while she is on her journey with Death are:

children playing, wheat growing, and the sun setting. The children that she sees

playing “in the Ring” have a major influence of human beings because they

symbolize eternity. The wheat that grows symbolizes the natural world as she

currently views it. However, as time changes, the grain appears to be “gazing” at her,

or observing her with much interest. The “setting sun” represents the life clock,

which is also known as the thing that humans measure as the amount of time left to

live on earth. As time passes by, she passes with Death into another phase or

dimension. This all ties into what the young woman strives to do. As she journey’s

with Death, she relates everything that she does in every day living as something

she would still see when she is already dead. She tries to repress the stress of living,

but tries to think about it in a positive way. She temporarily loses herself in a

wonderland, where she imagines that everything she sees when she travels with

Death is a pleasant experience. Afterwards, she then tries to think positively of what

she can do to feel the same way when she is alive. As this happens, she spots

significant symbols that represent her life.

In the fifth stanza, the narrative figure uses euphemism as a way to

symbolize the mysterious places that she encounters at her time of

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