dickinson essay

Submitted By brit741
Words: 1450
Pages: 6

Brittnee Marshall
Professor Stephen Clifford
English 232
25 September 2014 Because I Could Not Stop for Death

In the poem "Because I could not stop for death", Emily Dickinson talks about her acceptance of death as something inevitable and out of her control; although she seems confused about being alive or dead as she keeps narrating. This poem is said to be Emily Dickinson’s most famous poem. This poem reveals Emily Dickinson’s calm acceptance of death. She portrays death being a gentleman that surprises her with a visit. Emily illustrates everyday scenes into a life cycle. While her metaphors explore death in an unsurpassable way, her lines often contain as much uncertainty as meaning. In the first stanza, when she says “Because I could not stop for death, He kindly stopped for me"(Line 1-2), she’s not ready to die but accepts the fact that it is a natural thing that happens to all human beings, and comes at its own time, no matter what you are doing or where you are it will come and take you, to which she seems content with. She personifies death as if it was a kind gentleman, or her groom that comes to pick her up and take her away in his carriage on a pleasant ride; she also realizes that ironically someone else is riding along with them, “Immortality” looking at it in a positive way. It is also interesting to point out how she separates death from immortality, when she says “The carriage held but just ourselves—and immortality” (Line 3-4). She seems excited about her journey with her two companions, and feels so pleased by this gentleman’s courtesy that she gives up her distress and freedom to enjoy it; when you are dead, there are no more troubles and no more leisure time. Dickinson feels happy with her exchange of life for death’s civility. It now seems that she wanted to die sooner but couldn’t, and death came to her but in slow form as if she was ill. She doesn’t realize where she is headed as he drives the carriage away slowly, with no hurry, this means that she is already dead, and being taken in a hearse. She sees her life as movie being played in front of her as they pass the school, the fields of grain, and the setting sun. Children at play reminds her of her own childhood, being energetic and full of life; the grains suggest harvest time (growing, being productive, ripe), adulthood; and she gazes at them as if there is something that she missed or didn’t do at that time of her life, a time she should have enjoyed(Line 9-12). The setting sun, she sees it as the end of the day, but it really means the mature years, getting older and heading towards the end of life, a time to put everything away and rest (Line 12). It seems as if death is giving her a tour of her life, her memories, and to get a last glimpse at the life she’s leaving behind before heading to her final destination. It must have been early morning as she talks about how the air felt so chilly and how it made her tremble when she says: “The dews drew a quivering chill” (Line 14). Also because she is wearing this soft, delicate, thin fabric gown and cape, she feels this chill when it gets damp and cold, in contrast to the warmth she felt while gazing at the grains; but it is also because she realizes where she is heading. Her attire, the flowing, transparent look of her delicate and tulle (a thin translucent material) gives a ghostly impression of her. In the last part of the poem, as they paused before the house (Line 17), which could also mean home, her new home; she starts to contemplate that this is a grave, with the swelling ground, a roof that is hard to see (the top of the casket), and the cornice in the ground (the tombstone), and realizes that she is buried there (Line16-20). She comes to the conclusion that she has been buried a long time ago, although it feels like it has been less than a day (Line 22). She senses that her life has passed her by like the sun did before she