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Emily Dickinson And Edgar Allan Poe On The Subject Of Death

2120 words - 9 pages

Body:
Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I could not stop for Death,” deals with the personification of death as an extremely gentle figure, who is escorting the speaker to her deathbed from the carriage. The speaker in this poem is dead for centuries and she is explaining the reader the experience she went through before dying. The main theme evident in this poem shows the inevitability of death and the idea of accepting of death. In the beginning of the poem itself, in line 2, Dickinson establishes a compassionate tone to depict the speaker’s amiable relationship with death when the speaker states “He kindly stopped for us”. The tone highlights the speaker’s acceptance of death and demonstrates how comfortable the speaker is feeling in the presence of death. This idea is further stressed in line three, “The Carriage held but Ourselves,” where Dickinson uses language to portray the speaker’s strong connection with death. The use of diction to stress on the capitalized word “Ourselves” signifies the friendly and exclusive bond between the speaker and death reiterating the theme. The Lines 6-8, “And I had to put away, My labor and my leisure too, For his Civility,” reemphasizes the speaker’s perspective on death. The speaker “has to” sacrifice all of his/her “leisure” and “labor” which symbolizes life in itself to prepare for death. Additionally, rather than discredit ‘Death’ for taking the speaker’s life, the speaker notes Death’s “Civility,” further suggesting that the speaker does not resent death. Imagery is also used to great detail in this poem in order to depict the speaker’s journey towards her death. In the 4th stanza, for example, there is specific evidence of visual imagery as seen from line 14, “The Dews drew quivering and chill-, For only Gossamer, my Gown-.” Here the subject of death is treated in a more orthodox manner, where the setting becomes ominous and uncomfortable. The imagery used to describe speaker’s “Gossamer” suggests how it couldn’t protect the speaker from feeling warm as she is closely approaching her death. In fact, this imagery closely connects with the imagery used in lines 18 and 19, “A Swelling of the Ground/ The roof was scarcely visible.” This image again conveys a rough image of death where speaker has to be confined in a grave to achieve death. In Dickinson’s perspective death holds the key for the speaker to reach immortality, which Dickinson refers to in the beginning of the poem in line four, “And Immortality.” This will require the speaker to show some level of tolerance, but it’s still worth it for the speaker since immortality will bring her satisfaction. In fact, in lines 18 and 19, Dickinson utilizes a metaphor to depict the house as her grave in order to alleviate the feeling of horror and apprehension held by readers towards the concept of death. (Should there be a reference here, Akash?)
In the next poem called “I heard a Fly buzz-when I died” imagery and other literary devices are used in a wider...

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