The modern world fears death and describes it as dark, scary, and horrible. However,
Emily describes it as something that she welcomes and is not to be feared. She
knows that once a person dies, he or she begins another life.
Through the poem’s diction, Emily Dickinson’s view of death is shown. Death
“knew no haste” and “kindly stopped” for Emily, so Emily “[puts] away [her] labor and
leisure” for [Death’s] “civility.” Death is described as a gentleman, who kindly stops the
carriage for Emily. Emily welcomes Death and stops what she is doing to follow and join
him. The personification of death shows that Emily thinks highly of death and does not
fear or dread it.
As the carriage drives slowly, Emily and Death pass a school, where children
“strove at Recess-- in the Ring.” The “Ring” refers to the nursery rhyme called “Ring
Around the Rosie” and derives from the Black Plague. The significance of the “Ring” in
the poem is that children do not think about death. In fact, they do not even know that the
game that they play refers to death. The children also depict the progress of human life.
They have just begun their journey while Emily is near the end of her journey.
Emily and Death pass “the fields of gazing grain” and “the setting sun” as the
“dews drew quivering and chill.” The grain suggests futurity; that is, it will grow and
develop until it dies. It has a future like the children that they passed. The sun passes them
as the sun does everyone who is buried. When the sun sets, the world becomes dark. This is a contrast to the light of the previous stanzas in the poem. Also the world becomes
damp and cold, which is a contrast to the warmth in the previous stanza.
Another thing that Emily and Death see as they ride in the carriage is a “House”