Emily Dickinson’s Because I Could Not Stop For Death
The poem is generally about death and the thoughts going on in the mind of the person nearing it. In simple and short phrases, the persona of the poem is expressing his feelings towards the end of his life on earth and the beginning of his immortality in eternity. The poem basically treats death not a negative thing but something that cannot be avoided and everyone shall face in the future. Although the persona in the poem is sad because he has to leave behind the earthly realm he loved and got used to, he cannot deny death and saw something positive in the process of embrasing it.
The poem was developed in a way that it incorporated both the aesthetic and rational sense. It has six (6) stanzas. The lines of the poem’s stanzas have alternating eight (8) and six (6) syllables. There is no specific rhyming scheme in the construction of the poem making it a free verse. Even so, the combination of words, especially the descriptions elaborately shows connection with each other.
Be/cause/ I/ could/ not/ stop/ for/ Death — 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 He/ kind/ly/ stopped/ for/ me –
1 2 3 4 5 6 The/ Ca/rriage/ held/ but/ just/ Our/selves – 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 And/ i/mmor/ta/li/ty. 1 2 3 4 5 6 (All succeeding stanzas have similar syllabic pattern. ) The first stanza of the poem is a clear introduction of what death is. The opening lines Because I could not stop for Death – He kindly stopped for me means that the persona doesn’t want death. However, he has to face it.
And when he is taken by death, there is nothing in the physical world that he can bring with him aside from his immortality. It is a declaration how powerful and divine death is. After the poem’s heavy introduction, it is then followed and supported by stanzas with lines grouped in a way to best describe the event. The reader of the poem is taken to a trance that will show him the best picture of death and what it does. There are descriptions of what the things that will be left behind are and what waits. The real meaning of the poem may not be understood by single reading because of the very obscure diction.
Nevertheless, a close look will reveal the great imagery that is contained in the poem. In the fifth (5th) stanza of the poem We paused before a House that seemed A Swelling of the Ground – The Roof was scarcely visible – The Cornice – in the Ground – the imagery is very impressive. The author used the above phrases and lines to describe the end point of every one who dies. Anyone who reads through the lines will realize that the burial place is just a stop-over or a pit stop for a more interesting journey – and that is the journey to eternity.
Meaning, there is more than just the dying and the ceremony when it happens. People should look forward on eternity and the possible beauty and joy we may find there. The poem does not have a rhyming scheme but the words are in harmony with each other. Moreover, the way each stanza was developed is consistent with the previous and the next. Because of the aforementioned writing strategy, the picture of the poem all fell into place making it like a mini-movie once read.
The idea is successfully extended to the readers because of the very interesting way words are put together. Usually, death is pictured as something tragic, thus, something that should be scared about. But the author Emily Dickinson successfully depicted death in such a way that it uplifts one’s spirit. It is almost positive that Emily Dickinson wrote this piece during her last days on Earth. And in an artistic way, Emily Dickinson converted her experience into a masterpiece that will inspire readers for generations.
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