Discussing Death

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 15
  • Published: February 10, 2013
Read full document
Text Preview
Understanding poetry can be a difficult task. To many, most of it may not make much sense at first. When it comes to poetry, one has to do a lot of rereading and analyzing. One has to put themselves in the poet’s mindset. Poetry is a big part of literature. It helps writers express their feelings in ways that typical story writing does not. That is what makes poetry one of the purest forms of writing, being able to fully express oneself. In poetry, there’s no need to go into all of the little details; all one needs to do is get to the point in whatever way they please. Poetry allows one to talk about subjects that might be hard for most people to write about, like death. Not too many people want to actually hear or talk about death.

People have been writing about death for as long as we can remember. Death isn’t an easy topic to discuss; each one of us has his or her own views on it. The one thing that is certain though is no matter how one feels about death, is everyone is going to die, only the hour of our appointment is uncertain. Death signifies the final chapter in our human life cycle. Writing poems about death helps us to fully express how we feel about it. One poet that was particularly caught up with writing about death was Emily Dickinson. She wrote close to eighteen hundred poems throughout her life, and most of them were about death or immortality. Beyond the two main themes of her poems, Dickinson’s work also followed the same style: short lines, half- rhymes, and some even lacked titles. Outside of writing, Dickinson had quite a secluded life. She suffered from depression after the deaths of many of her family members and friends. This depression is thought to have partially sparked the reoccurring death theme in her poems. Dickinson wasn’t a social woman and suffered from many problems other than depression. Many would say she lived a pretty lonely life, especially as she grew older, but it was during those times she was most productive.

Dickinson’s poem, “Because I could not stop for Death,” is thought to be very unique. While most artistic representations of death tend to be dreary and depressing, she presents death as joyful and intriguing, as if something one would see in a fairy tale. In the first line of the poem she starts out by writing “Because I could not stop for Death— He kindly stopped for me—” (1-2). Rather than referring to death as an inanimate object, she refers to it as if it were a person: a courtly gentleman. Beyond that, she knew that everyone has to die, but she went on about her daily affairs. When the speaker says, “[She] could not stop for death,” she infers that she will not allow the fear of death to keep her from fully living. She refuses to slow down, or limit herself, until he decided to make an appearance. She knew that it wasn’t necessary to preoccupy herself with making preparations for one’s passing; death will find us, we don’t have to go looking for it. So why worry about it? Of course, just like every human, her time to die came as it indicated in her statement that “He kindly stopped for me”. She didn’t get on the carriage kicking and screaming but rather willfully boards it; she let Death take her. As the poem goes on the next line reads “The Carriage held but just Ourselves— And Immortality” (3-4). The previous lines said that “death took her” but now she’s talking about being inside of a carriage. Many may wonder how this makes sense, which is what I wondered at first. After I reread the line, I realized that Dickinson is referring to her life after death as a carriage ride. After that, she writes that the carriage “held but just [Themselves]” meaning that there has to be one other person on the ride with her. Earlier she referred to Death as a man, so she envisions herself taking a carriage ride literally with Death. In the next few lines Dickinson talks about the carriage ride with death, ending the second stanza with “For His Civility—” (8). She is literally...
tracking img