"Because I Could Not Stop for Death" Essay

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Because I Could Not Stop For Death

Because I Could Not Stop For Death is an eerie, but absorbing evocation of death. Written by Emily Dickinson, it is one of hundreds of poems devoted to death, as she grapples with the philosophical significance of this experience. Her provocative work is particularly characterised by a sophisticated use of language and punctuation, which patently adds depth and meaning. For the female subject of the poem, death is dispassionately met, where the separation of body and spirit is apparent. Existence beyond life is a perpetual "Eternity", signified in the metaphor of journey, as time transcends into an alternate dimension.

In the opening line and title, the notion of "Death" is explicably
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The carriage possessing the passenger and Death "held but just Ourselves", as they contentedly journey together beyond the limit of mortal life. The capitalisation of "Ourselves" gives a great significance on the companionship between Death and the narrator, as she appraises their relationship. An explicit sense of togetherness is conveyed as they seem to be united together as a separate entity; the wedding carriage also alludes to marriage between the pair. Furthermore, they are "held" within this carriage, hinting at a nurturing, intimate tenderness, as the gratified tone establishes the narrator's sheer awe and wonder of her experience. However, this line is syntactically positioned to join them with "Immortality" -their third passenger. This abstract concept is personified to illustrate that in the company of Death, existence lasts for an eternity.

"We slowly drove - He knew no haste." Dickinson's first line of the second stanza is divided symmetrically by a long dash, to evoke the pleasant journey of Death and his guest. Possessing a rhythmic element, the tone is unconditionally natural; the narrator is at peace, wholeheartedly consenting of Death and is enjoying her outing. This acceptance is further exemplified in her willingness to "put away / My [her] labour and leisure too." These elements are summations of life, for the
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