Death Riddles, An analysis of Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop for Death"

Essay by treeskier23High School, 10th gradeA, April 2004

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In the poem, "Because I Could Not Stop for Death," Emily Dickinson creates a dark and depressing tale about death. This poem not only reflects what Dickinson's feelings were at the time it was written but also her unique poetic style. Dickinson's main point in this poem is the inevitability of death and how we do not control our fate. She may also be prophesizing what her experiences will be after death. If this is true I pity her life. Dickinson describes the interactions between a person and death. To better understand this poem you must understand the tragic life of Emily Dickinson.

Shortly after being engaged Dickinson learned that her fiancée had run off with another woman. This broke Dickinson's heart and this left such a distinct and lasting impression on her. This experience is shown through all of her work as a poet and accounts for her sadistic subjects .After

this experience she did most of her brilliant poetic writing while spending her time alone as a recluse.

The tone throughout the opening stanzas is strikingly different from the end when it seems the mood changes for the worse. In the opening stanza Dickinson describes the interaction with herself and the character death. Death is described as someone who is incredibly powerful, powerful enough to make the character stop what she is doing and join Death in the carriage and to give up her "labor and leisure/ For his civility." This shows how powerless we are to resist death and our inability to stop death when it strikes.

Dickinson uses a specific term in the fourth line of the first quatrain that stands out; it is the word, "Immortality." Most youth have the impression of immortality and Dickinson is stating that the main character feels like...