Poetry Explication Because I could not stop for death

Topics: Poetry, Death, Life Pages: 2 (617 words) Published: April 16, 2015
Vinson Chiu
English 10, Period 2
Mrs. Kirkeby
3 March 2015
Eternal Life After Death
Emily Dickinson wrote “Because I could not stop for Death-” in 1862 but was published in 1890, after her death. This lyrical poem consists of six stanzas of four lines each (6 quatrains). The poem varies between iambic tetrameter and iambic trimester. There is no consistent rhyme scheme. The major theme of the poem is the eternal life after death.

To begin with, the main topic of this poem is human death. Dickinson wrote this during a brief moment of happiness she felt after depression. She constantly fought with depression as a child and it continued into her adulthood. However, she was able to change her view on death and this poem shows what her beliefs were about death. Dickinson did not title any of her poems so the title given to this poem is just the first line. The reason she never titled her work was because she never meant to publish any of her poetry. In the poem, she repeats the phrase, “We passed,” and this might be a clue to the reader that she has passed away. This repetition allows the readers to infer that the speaker of the poem is a spirit or ghost reminiscing of her past.

Undoubtedly, the speaker of the poem is dead but she seems to be very tranquil about it. She personifies death as a gentleman who takes her for a relaxing ride on a carriage literally through memory lane. In stanza one, Death picks her up in a carriage with Immortality as another passenger. In stanza two, the speaker seems to be enjoying the ride because it replaced the stress and the labor that she constantly endured in her lifetime. Stanza three begins to tell the story of her life. The first and second line, “We passed the school, where children strove / At recess, in the ring,” represents her childhood and she sees herself playing at school. Then, it goes onto her adulthood as she and Death passed the “gazing grains”. Finally, the last line of stanza three, “We passed the...
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