Emily Dickinson Mortality

Words: 1228
Pages: 5

What would you do if death came knocking on your doorstep? Would you run or take his hand? Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I could not stop for Death” illustrates an encounter with the reaper. Using personification, Emily Dickinson brings to life death as a human being and forces the readers to reflect on everyday life as if it was their last day alive. The theme of mortality is prevalent throughout the poem as it is embodied through the character of death, the narrator, the carriage ride, the house, and lastly the horses.
Emily Dickinson begins her poem with lines 1 and 2, “Because I could not stop for Death/ He kindly stopped for me” as a way to open up two important characters—the narrator and death. Death, as known for centuries by many
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Time’s role within the poem is not put out in display for the world to see, but rather through the narrator’s choice of words. Through analysis of the poem, the reader senses the narrator is too busy to stop and reflect her life. This is shown multiple times in the poem. First in stanzas 1 lines 1-2, Because I could not stop for Death/ He kindly stopped for me and again in stanza 2 lines 4-8, We slowly drove/ He knew no haste/And I had put away/My labor, and my leisure too/For his civility. Because Deaths conducted himself in a polite behavior, the narrator “who has not been able to stop for Death is now so completely captivated by his personality that she has put away everything that had occupied her before his coming”(Glenn, Modern American Poetry). She, at this point, understands the carriage ride is going to take time, so she no longer needs to bother herself with her work. She comprehends death’s purpose is to take her to the …show more content…
Death will show up unannounced and unexpectedly. Understanding Emily Dickinson’s views on mortality in “Because I could not stop for Death” opens doors to a change of perspective of dying. The passage between the three stages of life to eternity doesn’t have to be an alarming. Death being personified as a gentleman is different from the reaper holding the scythe many folklore’s illustrate him to be. “Because I could not stop for Death” shows mortality isn’t a terrifying passage but rather a three segment stage to