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Emily Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop For Death"

1179 words - 5 pages

The Cycle of LifeFor as long as history has been recorded, man has always been at odds at with the thought of his own death. Even the few who have accepted death amiably have at some point feared, dreaded, or attempted to postpone its arrival. We have personified death as someone evil who appears unpredictably, only to take you unwillingly from this world to the next. But in reality, we know that death is not the uncontrollable grim reaper that we find in fairy tales and movies. Rather than being malicious and unjust, death is an inevitable part of the cycle of life. In recent centuries, poets have spent much of their time writing of death and its inescapability-both as something to be admired as well as feared. In her haunting poem entitled, "Because I Could Not Stop For Death," Emily Dickinson realizes that to escape death is unachievable, and she shows that it need not be painful, therefore the poem sustains a serene tone throughout. Death is personified by Dickinson as being compassionate, and kind- making it feel more acceptable. ThroughDickinson's precise style of writing, effective use of literary elements, and vivid imagery, she creates a poem that can be interpreted in many different ways.As human beings, it is in our nature to feel that death does not come in a convenient or opportune time. When Dickinson says, "Because I could not stop for Death," she causes the reader to begin wondering why she could not stop. The apparent response is that she was so wrapped up in the chaos of life, she was too busy to thinkGolriz 2about death. She makes death's inescapability clear in the next line though when she says, "He kindly stopped for me." In this last line she has begun to personify Death as a gentleman, rather than the vindictive evildoer he is normally thought of as being. The next lines, "The Carriage held but just Ourselves-/ And Immortality," suggest that life is our most precious tenure and promises the gift of unending life. The presence of immortality helps to remove her fears about exiting the physical world by his accompaniment to the metaphysical world with them as a type of chaperone. If the promise of immortality did not exist, one would never go along willingly, nor would one welcome death without fear.Death and the speaker ride along together with completely no concept of the passage of time. They are not hastened, because they have forever to reach their destination. This is stated in the line "We slowly drove-/He knew no haste." They are taking their time in looking around because they know they have all of eternity to reach their objective. Death, who is supposed to be in a constant rush to swoop in and take you, doesn't seem to mind about going slow. Having completed all her earthly responsibilities, the speaker states that they no longer concern her. Now she does not have to wash, cook, clean, take care of loved ones or perform any other household tasks. The speaker has been allowed the extravagance of rest and...

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