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Analysis of "Because I Could Not Stop For Death" by Emily Dickinson

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Nancy Zhang ?Because I Could Not Stop For Death? Death is one of the most prominent themes in the world of poetry, yet each poem concerning it is completely different from the next. The poem ?Because I Could Not Stop For Death? is perhaps one of the most enigmatic poems regarding the topic of death. In it, Emily Dickinson explores the psychology death through a young woman who has been buried for centuries. The poem is a reflection of the passing of time and one?s life while living, and although Dickinson portrays death as a lonely thing, it is neither frightening nor painful. ...read more.


Dickinson?s use of the word ?kindly? gives the reader the impression that, although Death swoops in unannounced, he is very civil - ?For his Civility?. The young lady is escorted onto a ?Carriage? by Death, with only ?Immortality?, also personified, as company, ironically suggesting that a relationship with Death will last for eternity. It is a lonely and slightly depressing thought, but the young lady is accepting of it and respects Death. The third and fourth stanzas reflect the different stages of life. The ?School? and ?Recess? represent innocence of youth and vitality; the ?Fields of Gazing Grain? symbolize maturity, and the last stage - ?the Setting Sun? - stands for old age, the fading of life. ...read more.


In the last two stanzas, the young lady fully realizes that she has been dead for centuries. The rhyming lines ?House that seemed a Swelling of the Ground? and the ?Cornice in the Ground? refer to her grave under the open sky, so the ?Roof was scarcely visible?. In the last stanza, Dickinson is suggesting that Eternity feels shorter than a day because she is already beyond feeling time pass in death. Dickinson has adapted an ?abcb? rhyme scheme in each of the six quartets, as well as breaks in the lines that create a choppy feeling, yet somehow allows the poem to flow as a whole. Each stanza in the poem ends with a dash that prolongs the feeling of Eternity and adds fluidity as well. ...read more.

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