Two Different Views on Death
Death can be represented in numerous ways. Emily Dickinson's view of death is a calm accepting representation. Wallace Stephens' view on death represents a celebration. Death can be a time of acceptance or denial. I have chosen to compare the differences on the theme of death between Emily Dickinson's poem, Because I Could not stop for Death and Wallace Stevens' poem, The Emperor of Ice-Cream.
Emily Dickinson's poem was written from the perspective of a woman dealing with the idea of her own death. Wallace Stevens' poem was written from the perspective of the narrator describing the events surrounding a wake at a neighbors death. We can surmise that Dickinson is explaining her thoughts about her own death and Stevens is explaining death about a woman that the reader does not know and is never referred to by name.
Dickinson's style in this poem is very structured and precise, much like her view of death. There are six stanzas in the poem with each stanza having four lines or quatrains. It is amazing to what degree she took to make each quatrain similar. The first and third lines have eight syllables and the second and fourth lines have six syllables. The first syllable is unstressed followed by a stressed syllable which follows throughout the entire poem. Wallace Stevens' poem has two stanzas of eight lines, however the meter of the poem varies. The syllables vary and do not follow a strict structure like Dickinson does. Stevens does have two rhymes in the last two lines of each stanza
The characters in each poem represent different things. In Because I Could not stop for Death, death is represented by the driver of the carriage. The narrator is the woman in the poem and the children represent early life. There is a precise metaphor for each character in the poem The Emperor of Ice-Cream. The characters represent a metaphoric meaning for sensual things. In the first stanza he describes a muscular man that rolls cigars. He described the girls as wenches which is a hedonistic representation. The Emperor is the leader of the party. In the second stanza he describes the dead woman with horny feet. The reader can surmise that she had a rough life and was not wealthy.
Each stanza of Dickinson's poem follows her journey towards death and beyond. The first stanza explains that Dickinson was too busy for death but it was coming just the same. This is shown in the first two lines " Because I could not stop for Death/He kindly stopped for me" (1-2). Death represented by the carriage driver was very kind and this shows us that Dickinson is at peace with the idea of death. Immorality is there as a passenger to represent the afterlife following death.
In the second stanza, Dickinson is taken aback by deaths kindness again. She describes death as being civil and explains that death is taking his time with the line "We slowly drove, he knew no haste" (5). He will be ready when you are.
In the third stanza, we see the...