The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” (Mark Twain). This quote from the famous American writer is the basis for what became one of the hardest ideas to comprehend, death. Death has always been a complex term, causing one to struggle with what the true definition is. It is also hard to wrap your mind around what does it truly mean to die. These are the questions we long for the answer. Whether we acknowledge it or not, death has always been feared by many. Death remains an impossible question, one that has been unexplained since beginning of time. Even though dying is a natural, we as a human race still fear it. What can be done to defeat this never-ending battle? According to Montaigne’s “To Philosophize is to Learn to Die” and Cory Taylor’s “Questions for Me About Dying” we can overcome this by living to the fullest, living with no regrets, living a legacy, and lastly not fearing the inevitable. If you want to conquer the question of life, live in the moment.
Emily Dickinson’s poem, “After great pain, a formal feeling comes-“is a profound portrayal of the debilitating process of grief human beings undergo when confronted with a horrific tragedy. The response to that ultimate pain is the predominance of numbness, “After great pain, a formal feeling comes-/The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs-“(1-2). This is a poem that must be read slowly to become saturated in the melancholy, the dehumanization of suffering as it affects each aspect of the body without reference to the chaotic emotionality of it. The abundance of metaphors within Dickinson’s poem provides the means to empathize the necessity of numbness. It is also through the use of punctuation and capitalization, depicting the presence of a
Whitman, in his poetic treatment of death, maintains positivity. The favorableness of death is shown when Whitman states that when you die you are still alive through soul. In his poem, To Think of Time, he says, “I swear I think now that everything without exception has an eternal soul” (To Think of Time, 9. 1). The axiom of death, in his point of view, is thought to be the body preparing the soul for the afterlife. The captivating messages in Whitman’s poems are different than those of Emily Dickinson’s. Emily Dickinson has the idea that when you die you are gone forever and has a more negative stance on death. It is quite visible on how the two poets differ between their views on death.
Chuck Palahniuk once said, “The first step to eternal life, is you have to die.” In William Cullen Bryant’s poem “Thanatopsis”, he does not mention eternal life or anything religious, but speaks about death. He tells his readers that death is a natural thing and they should not worry about it. William Cullen Bryant, in his poem “Thanatopsis”, portrays a comforting view of death. Throughout the poem, Bryant encourages his readers by explaining that in death they are not alone, that death, like life, is a natural process, and that they will be among some of the finest people who walked the earth.
For Dickinson, sight is the most valuable sense that allowed her to see the world and act based upon whatever situations were thrown at her. In her poems, it seems that “darkness” would be a metaphor for the uncertainty, subsequently allowing “sight” to be a metaphor for how we tend to react to this uncertainty. Her two poems, “We grow accustomed to the Dark” and “Before I got my eye put out” seem to share the same representation and message that sight isn’t only a physical sense, but more importantly it’s the way our minds can adjust to see problematic situations with a different outlook.
“Afraid! Of whom am I afraid? Not Death – for who is He?” (F345). Dickinson, on the other hand, was not shaken by the thought of death, but rather welcomed it. Dickinson’s poetry not only portrayed death as nothing to fear, but it also counterbalanced society’s disdain for death. In one of Dickinson’s most popular poems, she writes “Because I could not stop for death- he kindly stopped for me” (F479). Culture typically sees death as an unwelcome end that everyone must face, but her poetry depicts death as being kind enough to halt its progress to accommodate her. Why is Emily Dickinson’s poetry so in love with death? Death is the only reliable constant (Ottlinger, 42). “All but Death, Can be adjusted Dynasties repaired – Systems – settled in the Sockets – Citadels – dissolved – Wastes of Lives – resown with Colors By Succeeding Springs – Death – unto itself – Exception – is exempt from Change -” (F789). Perhaps the harshest aspect of her poetry’s death is that after it has taken another soul, life moves on simply
The late psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross said: “The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.” This inspirational quote suggests that adversity provides people with new opportunities and can drive people to improve their life. Adversity comes in numerous forms, such as emotional, physical, and financial. Individuals have a choice to learn from adversity or allow it to break their character. However, certain types of adversity, such as severe chronic conditions or diseases, do little to improve character and the human condition. Thus, all types of adversity, pain, and suffering are not beneficial, however, most work to improve an
Emily Dickinson's most famous work, "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" is generally considered to be one of the great masterpieces of American poetry (GALE). Dickinson experienced an emotional crisis of an undetermined nature in the early 1860's. Her traumatized state of mind is believed to have inspired her writing. In this particular poem, “Because I could not stop for Death,” the deceased narrator of the poem reminisces about that material day when Death came seeking for her. In stanza one of the poem, the speaker states that she had always been too occupied to give room to death, so in good manner, he stopped for her. She further remarks that, in his carriage, she was accompanied by Immortality alongside Death. "The Carriage held
In Dickinson’s poem, Eden, characterized as a place of holiness, warmth, and comfort, becomes “that old-fashioned house” (Dickinson 1). Her word choice gives the sense that Eden is a place of comfort and warmth similar to how old-fashioned house would be. She then goes on to say how the residents of the home “sauntered from the Door, Unconscious their returning, But discover it no more” (Dickinson 6-8). These three lines show a dramatic change of tone in writing, as it goes from a sense of being relaxed while walking out of “Eden”, to a sense of fear and anxiousness in order to return to “Eden”. To my understanding, the poem provides the allusion that “Dickinson’s Eden” is a place of comfort vaguely similar to our childhood, and that once we
There is a lot more to poetry than just the words themselves. “What William Shakespeare called, “the mind’s eye” also plays a role” (Borus34). What that means is that your experiences and thoughts will add to your understanding. Dickinson had an active mind and a style so unique and unusual with her writing. Something that was very unusual about her writing was that she never put a title to her poems. Just like many poets, she used a wide assortment of literary devices such as, metaphor, simile, alliteration, and symbolism. “Unlike many writers of her time, Dickinson did not use conventional rhyme, capitalization, or punctuation” (Borus36). For example, she would put dashes not just at the end of a line, but also
Emily Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for Death” is a remarkable masterpiece that exercises thought between the known and the unknown. Critics call Emily Dickinson’s poem a masterpiece with strange “haunting power.”
The subject of death, including her own was a very prevalent theme in Emily Dickinson’s poems and letters. Some may find her preoccupation with death morbid, but this was not unusual for her time period. The mindset during Ms. Dickinson’s time was that of being prepared to die, in the 19th century people died of illness and accidents at an alarming rate, not to mention the Civil War had a high number of casualties, she also lived 15 years of her youth next to a cemetery. Dickinson’s view on death was never one of something to be feared she almost romanized death, in her poem “Because I Could not Stop for Death”, she actually personifies death while narrating from beyond the grave. In the first stanza she states “I could not stop for
In Emily Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for Death “ (448), the speaker of the poem is a woman who relates about a situation after her death. The speaker personifies death as a polite and considerate gentleman who takes her in a carriage for a romantic journey; however, at the end of this poem, she finishes her expedition realizing that she has died many years ago.
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born December 10, 1830, into an influential family in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her father helped found Amherst College, where Emily later attended between 1840 and 1846. She never married and died in the house where she was born on May 15, 1886.
At first Glance, “The Soul Selects Her Own Society” by Emily Dickinson is puzzling, even meaningless. However, upon further analysis it is clear that the poet has made several deliberate choices to assist the reader in discerning the poems meaning. Her deployment of poetic devices correlates to the narrative she is writing, allowing the reader to deeply perceive the poems message. Emily Dickinson’s “The Soul Selects Her Own Society” provides commentary on an individual’s ability to decide who can enter the most intimate parts of her life, which the reader can empathize with through figurative language, repetitive sounds, and enjambment.