Analyzing Emily Dickenson In “Because I Could Not Stop For Death”
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Analyzing Emily Dickenson
In the poem, “Because I could not stop for death,” Emily Dickenson personifies death as a gentleman who had stopped to pick her up in his horse-driven carriage (18th century). She relates her death and funeral procession to that of a carriage ride with the man, death himself. It is really interesting how in this first stanza she rhymes the two words “me” and “immortality,” for she is immortal and the entire theme of this piece is foreshadowed with this literary technique.

In the second stanza Dickenson goes on about the ride, or procession really, and describes it well relating closely to death and her departure from life. She speaks of the man driving slowly and that he is in no hurry, implying that her life has ended and time has stopped for her, hence no rush. She continues to say that out of respect she stopped everything she was doing, her daily tasks and recreations, to show thanks for his civility and kindness for a ride. This can be easily related to death in that death will completely halt everything in ones life. All of her labors and leisures had ceased.

In the third stanza, and second stage of her death, or ride, she describes the scenery they pass along the way to their destination. I think she is really describing the flashbacks and memories of her own life and they had passed by. She sees the school as her childhood, being a student and relating to her upbringing when passing by the school. The piece of playground equipment the children are playing on at recess is a ring and possibly symbolically represents her marriage and early adulthood. She passes the field of grain which she may be relating to her laborious adult lifestyle and way of making a living possibly farming during this period. Finally, she relates the setting sun to her older age, being the end of the day, and in her case the nearing of the end a lifetime. The word “passed” is repeated three times in this stanza, and then once again in the next.

Next, she speaks of the night time dew that seems

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First Stanza And Entire Theme Of This Piece. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from