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Acceptance of death is one of the main themes of Emily Dickinsons poem, Because I could not stop for death Only published in 1886 after her death; it puts the reader in a first person perspective, following her funeral carriage as it is drawn by

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Introduction

Acceptance of death is one of the main themes of Emily Dickinson's poem, "Because I could not stop for death" Only published in 1886 after her death; it puts the reader in a first person perspective, following her funeral carriage as it is drawn by horses to her burial. Unlike conventional poems where death is a dark bad thing, in "could not stop", Dickinson describes death warmly, personifying it as a civil gentleman; while also using many metaphors and imagery to explore the themes of the poem The first two stanza's of the poem set the slow, dark tone of the poem, which is started with an in media res, "because", giving the reader the sense that they are joining the story part way through and signifying that most of the speakers life is already over. ...read more.

Middle

Dickinson begins by describing the carriage passing a school, where children "strove At Recess - in the Ring" the verb "strove" is used instead of a more expected word such as "play", making the children seem to struggle in their activities; and the noun "Ring" also makes the children seem confined and trapped, and in combination with "strove", makes childhood innocence seem a difficult goal to achieve. The carriage then passes fields of "Gazing Grain" and a "Setting Sun" which are both metaphors for the life's stages, the grain being the middle and the setting sun the end. The adjective "Gazing" gives an eerie feeling to the passage and the impression that the speaker was being watched and judged throughout her life. Dickinson then writes "Or rather - He passed us", referring to the sun. This gives an image of the speaker lying dead, while the world continues to go round, passing her, and making her feel very insignificant in the world. ...read more.

Conclusion

The dirt, "swelling of the ground", coffin lid "roof" and grave stone "cornice" are also mentioned to help suggest the house metaphor to the reader. The next line " 'tis Centuries...Feel shorter than the Day" tells the reader how time flies by now that Dickinson is dead. The poem concludes with "I first surmised the Horses Heads Were toward Eternity", "Eternity" being the religious after life. By saying she "first surmised", Dickinson is suggesting that there is no afterlife and that she was misled by religion. The last line creates a lot of ambiguity to what Dickinson means and The theme of death is explored thoroughly in Dickinson's poem. The personification of death as a civil and kind gentle man is a very unique way to approach the subject. Dickinson's metaphors which are used throughout the poem help create vivid imagery such as her unprepared death, and the grave/house. And her clever use of language help her shift the mood at quickly and dramatically and ultimately make the poem what it is. ...read more.

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