Emily Dickinson Embraces Death

4 April 2015
An examination of the poem “Because I Could Not Stop For Death” by Emily Dickinson.

This paper presents a line by line analysis of the poem. The poem is presented at the beginning of the paper and then the writer attaches personal symbolism to certain themes in the poem. The writer shows how Dickinson latches on to an idea and explores it deeply. She is not afraid of death and welcomes it – a concept which at first seems remote to the writer but after reading the poem, understands these sentiments.
“My first reaction to Emily Dickinson’s poem Because I could not stop for death, is admiration for the poetic form. It is so perfect in it’s rhythm and the way the words flow from beginning to end even through images are not immediately clear. I’m at once impressed because I can feel that huge ideas are packed into a small space. What is most obvious in the first reading is that the poem is about Death. Death is personified as the driver of a carriage. Death, or the unknown, is being transformed into familiar everyday life. The poem reminds me of Robert Frost because he, too, is a deep thinker on big questions like death, feeling the need to balance the known and the unknown, to bring abstraction into reality, death into life. This poem reminds me of Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, ” with it’s famous line, And miles to go before I sleep. Like Frost, Dickinson lines are memorable and epigramatic. Her words sound like great truths or proverbs that we have heard a thousand times. They resound with a sense of truth and completeness, and I wonder, why didn’t anybody ever say it like this before.”
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