Because I Could Not Stop for Death Anaylsis

In: English and Literature

Submitted By bellekennedy
Words 710
Pages 3
‘BECAUSE I COULD NOT STOP FOR DEATH’ – Emily Dickinson
Summary
Death, in the form of a gentleman suitor, stops to pick up the speaker and take her on a ride in his horse-drawn carriage.
They move along at a pretty relaxed pace and the speaker seems completely at ease with the gentleman. As they pass through the town, she sees children at play, fields of grain, and the setting sun. Pretty peaceful, right?
As dusk sets in our speaker gets a little chilly, as she is completely under-dressed – only wearing a thin silk shawl for a coat. She was unprepared for her impromptu date with Death when she got dressed that morning.
They stop at what will be her burial ground, marked with a small headstone.
In the final stanza, we find out the speaker's ride with Death took place centuries ago (so she's been dead for a long time). But it seems like just yesterday when she first got the feeling that horse heads (like those of the horses that drew the "death carriage") pointed toward "Eternity"; or, in other words, signaled the passage from life to death to an afterlife.

Analysis
Death
OK, so death is not a new concept to us but Dickinson does a good job making it fresh and strange by having death take the form of a man. You might be tempted to think of the grim reaper, with his black cloak and dangerous-looking scythe (the curved sharp thing he's always carrying around), but, no, Dickinson's Death is a real smooth operator. He's the kind of guy who would hold the door open for his date and offer her his coat on a chilly night. Dickinson uses the character of Death as an extended metaphor to examine what real death might be like. * Lines 1-2: Death is introduced right away as the leading character and focus of the poem, performing a human action – stopping for someone on his way. If this were a play he'd be cast as the leading male role who gets a lot of lines.…...

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