Explication of Emily Dickinson's Poem Because I Could Not Stop for Death Poem

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Dickenson

Emily Dickinson's poem "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" is a lyrical tribute to life's most powerful transition. Written in iambic tetrameter, Dickinson uses a regular meter but not a rhyme scheme. Instead, Dickinson relies on alliteration, rich symbolism, unconventional capitalizations, repetition, and imagery and other poetic devices. Dickinson treats Death as a welcome and benevolent companion. "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" reveals the paradox that life is at once transitory and eternal.

The narrator begins with the opening line, "I could not stop for Death," (1). Human beings are too caught up in their mundane affairs to contemplate deeper issues like death. Death "kindly stopped" for the speaker, and "Immortality" was also in the carriage (2;4). Thus, right away Death and Immortality are personified. They are depicted as benevolent forces as well as mutual companions. Immortality does not exist without the poignant transition of Death, whereas Death entails eternal life. The narrator notes that the carriage passes "the Fields of Gazing Grain," (11). Imagery of grain alludes to Death as the proverbial Reaper, although Dickinson's Death is not Grim.

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Dickinson's reliance on both unconventional capitalization and alliteration enliven the poem, enhancing its already structured meter. Unconventional capitalization is used on certain words and not others such as "Carriage" and "Civility" but not on "Labor" or "Leisure," (3; 8; 7). Thus, the capitalization is not linked to theme necessarily but to rhythm. Dickinson is suggesting that the reader stress certain words in the reading of the poem. Alliteration also adds a musical element to "Because I Could Not Stop for Death." Phrases like "Gazing Grain," "Setting Sun," and "Horses' Heads" makes the poem musical in tone and enhances the ironic cheerfulness of a poem about death (11; 12; 23).

Poem on Explication of Emily Dickinson's Poem Because I Could Not Stop for Death Assignment

Imagery in "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" is far from gruesome; in fact, the imagery supports the view of Death as a positive aspect of life. Death teaches the important lesson of appreciating transitoriness. For example, the imagery… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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