Because I Could Not Stop for Death

Topics: Poetry, Stanza, Emily Dickinson Pages: 4 (1454 words) Published: May 2, 2007
"Because I could not stop for Death"
In Emily Dickinson's poem "Because I could not stop for Death" the main theme seems to be the acceptance of Death. Emily gives reference to the theme by using "death" in the first line. The poem is unique and interesting because she presents Death in a different way by referring to it as an escort taking her on a journey towards eternity rather than making it seem like something frightening. Each stanza of the poem breaks down the journey through the stages of her life that leads to the end where the speaker reaches eternity and she finally realizes that she is no longer living. In the fifth stanza when she refers to the coffin as her "house" gives the impression that she's comfortable with death and not afraid. Death is seen as something that's a natural part of life that you don't have to be scared to face. Many critics may agree that Death is the important theme of the poem, but they each have their own view of how this theme is interpreted.

In a critical analysis by Allen Tate he says that "the content of death in the poem eludes forever any explicit definition" (Modern Literature). He believes that "Because" is one the greatest poems within the English language because it's flawless. Each image is precise and fuses with the central idea which in this particular poem is death. An example of her power to fuse into a single order of perception is in the third stanza where she refers to the children, the grain, and the setting sun (Modern Lit.). Tate speaks of the poem's "subtly interfused erotic motive, which the idea of death has presented to most romantic poets, love being a symbol interchangeable with death" (Modern Lit.). He also says, "The terror of death is objectified through this figure of the genteel driver, who is made ironically to serve the end of Immortality" (Modern Lit.). To him, the heart of the poem is when she presents a typical Christian theme in all its final irresolution. Tate also points...
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