Because I Could Not Stop For Death

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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In Emily Dickinson's poem "Because I Could Not Stop For Death", she tells of a woman's experience and thoughts while heading towards death. In the poem Dickinson is expressing to us to slow down our lives or they will pass us by; and death will sneak up on us. She goes through the five stages of the woman's life and tells how it went by too fast. The poem begins with a woman who has been picked up by a carriage that is taking her to her death. The woman has a feeling of immortality; immortality is the feeling of unending existence. Introducing the idea of doubt this is actually the end of her life. She didn't have time for death, but death certainly made time for her. "Because I could not stop for Death--He kindly stopped for me--"(ll. 1-2). The poem then moves on to tell you that she stops what she does in her everyday life as an act of kindness towards him because he is driving slowly and is not in any hurry.

"The woman is thankful for death's ease at speed" (Raina 11). Death is the driver of the carriage and is giving her time to reflect on her life.

Then the poem moves to images of the woman's past, in stages, as she passes them. She begins with her childhood, "We passed the School, where Children strove" (l. 9). Then comes maturity and adulthood, "We passed the Fields Of Gazing Grain--" (l. 11). This represents maturity because grain is wheat in its highest maturity. "Figuratively the poem symbolizes three stages of life: "School, Where Children strove" represents childhood; "Fields of Gazing Grain", maturity; and "Setting Sun" old age." (Raina 11). The next stage of her life was old age, "We passed the...