“Because I Could Not Stop For Death”
By: Emily Dickinson
The journey of life may be a confusing, happy, and trying time that ultimately ends in death. To describe death may be esoteric and frightening to anyone. However, the poem “Because I Could Not Stop For Death” by Emily Dickinson describes death as a calming journey. Emily Dickinson was an American poet who spent a majority of her life in isolation. Her poetry reflects her days of loneliness. The poem, “Because I Could Not Stop For Death” illustrates a theme of death and acceptance. Dickinson greets death in the first and second stanza as a carriage (hearse) awaits in a respectful manner, taking its time to make the journey to the cemetery. She is then taken through her stages of life in the third stanza as the carriage makes its journey. In the lines “...we passed the school, where children strove at recess...”, the deceased is reunited with their youthful memories, playing with friends, going to school. The next line “...we passed the fields of gazing grain...” symbolize adulthood and maturity as the gazing grain itself is ripe. The following line “...we passed the setting sun...” suggests Dickinson’s descent into death. As Miss Dickinson continues on her journey to the afterlife she is overcome with a chill. The lines “...the dews grew quivering and chill, for only gossamer my gown, my tippet only tulle...” highlights the gown she was wearing, which may have been more appropriate for a wedding rather than a funeral. Dickinson describes her grave as a house in the following lines “...we paused before a house that seemed a swelling of the ground...” which represent a sense of acceptance of her new life. The overall theme of Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I Could Not Stop For Death” is to accept death as part of the life cycle. She encourages the reader to enjoy the time they have, unlike herself who dwelled on her aloneness. Dickinson uses various poetic devices throughout this poem. For...
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