“Because I Could not Stop for Death” is a lyric poem written by Emily Dickinson. It was first published in 1890, posthumously, as if stressing even more on its main these – death. The poetess personifies death describing it as a gentleman who decides to take a ride in a carriage together with the poetess to her grave.
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The poem reflects a specific way of thinking of the author who was brave enough to relate in several lines her bitterness and inability to escape from death. “Because I Could not Stop for Death” is truly one of the best creations in the English language as it is practically impossible to find any flaws in it. Each image seems to be precise as well as closely bound with the central idea, never seem to let it go.
The reader can feel a certain gradation with the carriage nearing the graveyard. Every image intensifies and extends the previous image building up a strong foundation for the coming one. The poetic elements are used perfectly well. It may also reflect some cultural background of Emily Dickinson who had always been a deep-thinking woman with profound cultural knowledge and feelings.
Already the first line shows the importance of our life on Earth. Dickinson depicts how the speaker in the poem (the author herself, however, each person who reads the poem feels as if this poem is recited by himself or herself so deep the emotions in it are) does not want to go with Death because of being busy with her live, and therefore, Death takes the time and ‘so kindly’ stops for her.
The author emphasizes the significant of this moment, depicting it as a big honor for ordinary human being to receive such a civil treatment from Death: “And I had put away my labor and my leisure too”. The two of them were enjoying the carriage ride as Death ‘knew no haste’.
However, whatever pleasurable or honorable the feelings of the author were in the first stanza of the poem, the second one reveals her bitterness and inability to change even a little thing: They saw the setting sun, the playing children and the grain fields for the last time. Emily Dickinson aptly shows how she has already stopped to be like all other living human beings just with one comparison that the sun passed them – accentuating that since she sat in the carriage with Death, she turned into a part of the landscape ceasing to be a full of value person on Earth anymore.
After the bitterness of dying comes the realization of it. The death becomes very physical: “The Dews drew quivering and chill” and her clothes seems to be something she would never wear like that cape that was always mad of fur, is now “only Tulle”. And then the moment comes – she arrives to her new house. She understands that this house is just a place for rest, however, she still feels very cold as she looks directly into the eye of her death which she finally percepts both physically and mentally, realizing that all she had before means now nothing and can never be returned. Her days are gone.
In the end of the poem, we have a certain feeling of immortality which appears since she is gone to eternity. No wonder that the author managed to pass the feeling of real death so perfectly well to the reader – her poems seem to depict the last moments of life again and again. The interesting feature is that death in her works is never frightening or urging – it’s always understanding and kind. The death means immortality and no one should fear it: Time will not have the meaning anymore, as the realization comes that final peace has come and the soul is relieved.
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