Because I Could Not Stop For Death 2

Because I Could Not Stop For Death” Essay, Research Paper “Because I Could Not Stop For Death:” Under the Microscope Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I Could Not Stop For Death,” is an

Because I Could Not Stop For Death” Essay, Research Paper

“Because I Could Not Stop For Death:” Under the Microscope

Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I Could Not Stop For Death,” is an

interesting composition of the English language which commands respect and

critical examination. This literary work deals with mortality and retrospect of one’s

life. It begins with the speaker’s recollection of the day she died, now viewed from

the level of eternity. She is looking back on how things used to be, almost with a

sense of completion, as if her life has come to a satisfactory close. In the beginning,

she speaks of how Death shows up at her door unexpectedly and kindly escorts her

out to a carriage, marking her entrance into the afterlife. She then goes on to

discuss her ride in the stagecoach, along with her discoveries and recollections

along the way to her destination: Eternity. In this poem, Dickinson masters the use

of symbolism, poetic rhythm, and sense devices.

First of all, symbolism is strikingly apparent throughout the entire poem.

However, the most noted and fascinating example of symbolism is apparent from

the very first line. The reader becomes clearly aware that Death, referred to as “he”

is more of a suitor than anything else. He cordially arrives in a carriage, beckoning

her to join him in is pursuit of eternal life. She does not hesitate to join him, and

therefore begins to relish in the memories of her living days, which are now coming

to a quaint close. Some critics believe this poem to have a sexual undertone, citing

examples. This observation is derived mainly from lines thirteen through fifteen,

where a reference to the setting sun seems to hint at a bit of romance between Death

and the deceased. Then, the dew is said to draw a “quivering chill,” much like the

excitement of romance and love. Also, she is said to be wearing a gown of very

light material, so sheer that her body is visible through its fibers. The revealing

nature of her gown is much like a sexual quest, baring herself to her lover, which in

this case is Death. Dickinson’s use of the expiration of life as something to be

romanticized is a focal point of the poem which leaves readers mesmerized.

Next, a clear and concise poetic rhythm makes this poem very enticing to its

audience. The author does not let her audience stray from the story, keeping

everything in a logical order which is easy to follow. Dickinson walks readers step

by step through the stages of entering the “other side” of reality. She begins by

telling of how the carriage arrives, moving on to discuss her feelings as she

encounters them. At first she is surprised at the punctuality of Death. She did not

realize that this day would be her last, but wonder quickly gives way to acceptance,

leading her to reflect on her earthly years. She recalls her childhood, adolescence,

and maturing stages of life. Then, the poem leaves you with references to her

ripened years of age, finally resting with the resolve of her death. Each image is

defined, giving readers detailed mental images of her ideas. In turn, it causes one to

reflect on their own perception of existence and its fragility. All the while, she

never strays from her primary concern, which is comparing the beginning of life

with its mysterious ending.

Lastly, this poetic composition is brimming with sound and sense devices.

For example, “gazing grain” is a clear personification, giving the plant eyes to

glance longingly towards the carriage as it buzzes past the plentiful fields. Also, an

obvious hyperbole, she speaks of centuries feeling “shorter than the day.” Without

a doubt, the speaker feels a bit dizzy with reality brutally beating at her door,

forcing the realization that life has come to a close, all the while introducing a new

beginning in the land of eternity. During this moment of divine manifestation, the

victim of death feels like the moment is stretching out forever, even though time

keeps ticking away. Then, the poem states that coach passes “a house that seemed

a swelling of the ground.” This statement is a metaphor, relating a fresh cemetery

plot to a home or resting place. Symbolic of her recognition and approval of death,

the metaphor serves its purpose quite well. In essence, the writer does everything

possible to not only interest the reader, but to keep creative thoughts juicing through

the circuits.

In conclusion, Dickinson portrays the dance with Death as something that can

be viewed in a positive light instead of just a dreary nightmare. Immortality holds

more than just an ending. When viewed as a beginning of something new and

exciting, it gives birth to great thoughts to ponder. Dickinson manages to guide the

reader through its stages, clearly emphasizing every point along the way. Her.

use of symbolism, poetic rhythm, and sense devices keeps the reader abreast of the

situation while also making a bold statement about eternity being an issue to love,

not loathe.