An Analysis Of Emily Dickinson's Because I Could Not Stop For Death

Decent Essays
“Because I Could Not Stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson shows a woman’s departure from life and her passing into the hereafter. Dickinson uses what would have been a very familiar setting for anyone, a carriage ride with a suitor and a chaperone, to symbolize this journey. She uses other familiar images so that the reader is able to visualize them and understand that they represent stages of her life. A brief glimpse of the final destination is shown to the reader who is left with a feeling of peace at the journey’s end.

Getting into the carriage and beginning this journey shows her acceptance of her fate of leaving life as she states “And I had put away / My labor and my leisure too, “ (6-7). This was a carriage ride that was similar to an outing or date. During the times that Dickinson lived in a single woman would not go on a carriage ride without a chaperone (source here) and therefore Immortality is acting in this capacity. She is on this journey with Death who she refers to as somewhat kind and courteous as she says the following of him “He kindly stopped for me – “ (2), “ He knew no haste” (5), and “For his Civility –“ (8).
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Through Dickinson’s use of vivid images such as when she writes “We passed the School, where Children strove / At Recess – in the Ring – “ (9-10) the reader can clearly picture the children frolicking in a schoolyard. She then writes that “ We passed the Fields of Gazing Grains -- / We passed the Setting Sun – “ (11-12) and the reader understands that she is seeing the stages of her life from childhood, into adulthood, and then end of her life. She also uses the word passed four times in two stanzas to show the progression of her life and also the momentum of her final
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