Because I Could Not Stop For Death 2

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Because I Could Not Stop For Death” Essay, Research Paper “Because I Could Not Stop For Death:” Under the Microscope Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I Could Not Stop For Death,” is an interesting composition of the English language which commands respect and critical examination. This literary work deals with mortality and retrospect of one’s life. It begins with the speaker’s recollection of the day she died, now viewed from the level of eternity. She is looking back on how things used to be, almost with a sense of completion, as if her life has come to a satisfactory close. In the beginning, she speaks of how Death shows up at her door unexpectedly and kindly escorts her out to a carriage, marking her entrance into the afterlife. She then goes on to discuss

her ride in the stagecoach, along with her discoveries and recollections along the way to her destination: Eternity. In this poem, Dickinson masters the use of symbolism, poetic rhythm, and sense devices. First of all, symbolism is strikingly apparent throughout the entire poem. However, the most noted and fascinating example of symbolism is apparent from the very first line. The reader becomes clearly aware that Death, referred to as “he” is more of a suitor than anything else. He cordially arrives in a carriage, beckoning her to join him in is pursuit of eternal life. She does not hesitate to join him, and therefore begins to relish in the memories of her living days, which are now coming to a quaint close. Some critics believe this poem to have a sexual undertone, citing

examples. This observation is derived mainly from lines thirteen through fifteen, where a reference to the setting sun seems to hint at a bit of romance between Death and the deceased. Then, the dew is said to draw a “quivering chill,” much like the excitement of romance and love. Also, she is said to be wearing a gown of very light material, so sheer that her body is visible through its fibers. The revealing nature of her gown is much like a sexual quest, baring herself to her lover, which in this case is Death. Dickinson’s use of the expiration of life as something to be romanticized is a focal point of the poem which leaves readers mesmerized. Next, a clear and concise poetic rhythm makes this poem very enticing to its audience. The author does not let her audience stray

from the story, keeping everything in a logical order which is easy to follow. Dickinson walks readers step by step through the stages of entering the “other side” of reality. She begins by telling of how the carriage arrives, moving on to discuss her feelings as she encounters them. At first she is surprised at the punctuality of Death. She did not realize that this day would be her last, but wonder quickly gives way to acceptance, leading her to reflect on her earthly years. She recalls her childhood, adolescence, and maturing stages of life. Then, the poem leaves you with references to her ripened years of age, finally resting with the resolve of her death. Each image is defined, giving readers detailed mental images of her ideas. In turn, it causes one to reflect on their

own perception of existence and its fragility. All the while, she never strays from her primary concern, which is comparing the beginning of life with its mysterious ending. Lastly, this poetic composition is brimming with sound and sense devices. For example, “gazing grain” is a clear personification, giving the plant eyes to glance longingly towards the carriage as it buzzes past the plentiful fields. Also, an obvious hyperbole, she speaks of centuries feeling “shorter than the day.” Without a doubt, the speaker feels a bit dizzy with reality brutally beating at her door, forcing the realization that life has come to a close, all the while introducing a new beginning in the land of eternity. During this moment of divine manifestation, the victim of death feels like the