Emily Dickinson And Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

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Poems are like snowflakes. While no two are the same, they all have common structures and themes. One prevalent theme in poetry is that of death, which is present in both “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. Dickinson perceives death as a gentleman, while Frost perceives death as loneliness, which provides insight on how the time periods of the poems, the genders of the authors, and the authors’ personal experiences influence literature. A major factor of Emily Dickinson’s style of poetry is the time period in which she lived. Emily Dickinson was alive from 1830 to 1886 (Mackowiak and Batten, 1159), during which the Second Great Awakening, Romanticism, and the United States Civil War took place. When Dickinson was a teenager, the Second Great Awakening took hold, encouraging people to take hold of their religion and practice once more. Thomas Ford discusses this in his book Heaven Beguiles the Tired: Death in the Poetry of Emily Dickinson, reviewed by Jack Capps. Capps points out that Ford “repeatedly asserts that poetry, for Emily Dickinson, was but a substitute for the religious conversion that would have allayed her fears of death and obviated her poetic utterance” (227). Dickinson did not blindly accept what religion told her to believe about death. Christianity depicts the idea of dying in a peaceful way, then spending the rest of eternity in a mystical place. Instead, Emily Dickinson wanted

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