Death Literary Analysis Essay

953 words - 4 pages

Death has been a common topic for literature throughout history. There have been several plagues that have killed a massive amount of people. As organisms in general, we have come to accept the fact that we will all die in some way. Some people look at this subject positively, negatively, or neutrally. Most of the population in the world believe that there is some sort of afterlife in one way or another. Many arguments have been made to decide what is most likely, and people discussing their take on the matter. Emily Dickinson describes death as being very, very slow. Death is in no rush and is somewhat caring to a certain degree. John Donne chooses to make fun of death, and challenge the commonly accepted ideas. These poems attack this subject from completely different perspectives, but they’re are similar core ideas involved. Both poems suggest that death is a rather tame power or person.
Emily Dickinson’s, “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”, is certainly out of the ordinary. This poem does not describe the typical reaper that hunts people to end their lives. Emily Dickinson explains how Death stops to pick her up, and proceeds to take her on a ride in his horse-drawn carriage. Death is personified as an unintimidating gentleman coming to pick her up, and lead her to eternity. “He knew no haste”; “He kindly stopped for me”, “His Civility”. She explains that this all happens very slowly; he is in no rush, and he is civil about the process so she cooperates accordingly. As this ride continues, it becomes even slightly more pleasant as they pass the school. The sun then sets, and she is improperly dressed so she becomes chilled. The horse-carriage driven ride slowly descends into a darker period, and she discovers that she is dead at this point. We find out in the last stanza that she has been dead for centuries, and this story indicated the journey from life to death, and then onto the eternal afterlife. The examples of personification are my favorite part of the poem because she makes him seem so authentic. Emily Dickinson also used the house as a metaphor for her grave, and this is when she figures out that she has died. The personification and metaphors she used make the overall tone very personal because she has personified him into a real person driving the carriage towards Eternity.
Inversely of Dickinson, John Donne used a completely different approach to the subject. His approach differs because he decided to make fun of Death, but he still personified Death with human characteristics. John Donne states in line 2 that some have called Death, “Mighty and dreadful”, but he is not so. Death thinks that he is something...

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