Because I Could Not Stop For Death
Emily Dickinson's 'Because I Could Not Stop For Death' is a poem where death is presented as a chivalrous suitor who takes us on a relaxing journey to a peaceful end. Dickinson personifies death as the benevolent lover she never acquired during her reclusive life, and as a result, presents readers with an uncommon perspective of death from a prolific persona. The poem has rhyming quatrains bringing a celebratory mood to the concept of death. It accentuates the temperate, collected nature of death which is then changed in the 4th stanza when the mood changes to a more supernatural, ghostly feel. In the last stanza, when the persona has moved into death, the imagery becomes abstract, revealing the veiled and mysterious nature of death. In the first stanza, Dickinson personifies death as a benevolent suitor, who has come to guide her on a journey from life to afterlife. She clearly welcomes death, and is unafraid of leaving her mortal life behind perhaps because as a woman, Dickinson was unattached to the world as she did not have a lover, and lived an extremely reclusive life. Therefore ending her life on earth was not a worry to her but rather something she received gladly. Death is personified in this stanza as Dickinson makes 'Death' a noun, she goes on to give him human characteristics such as 'kindly stopping' for the persona. Since she did not have the ability to die by her own will, she was glad when death came to meet her. The fact that he pays special attention to her by coming to meet her in a 'carriage' furthers his presentation as a suitor, perhaps the one Dickinson never acquired during her lifetime. The inevitability of dying is shown by use of punctuation with a full stop after 'Immortality' despite the lack of punctuation present in the rest of the stanza. This makes the reader realise that death will meet everyone, and it is our reaction to death which may make our journey into the afterlife...
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