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Because I could not stop for Death

Emily Dickinson

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Distinct as East and West
Added by: Samuel Biagetti
It seems to me that the commenters on this site can be divided INTO two groups: those intersted in poetry, and those obsessed with their own all-consuming, mindless fears of other peopls's sexual orientations and of words they can't understand. Maybe we should branch out and make a separate website for the second group, where they can spend hours shrinking their own vocabularies and accusing one another of being homosexual till their fingers bleed.

Anyway, I found the comments FROM Mr-Whatever-comes-after-Z and FROM scratchy very helpful. But still, what exactly is the house they arrive at? Why does she describe it this way? And why do they stop thaere, instead of simply go on in the carriage forever, picking people up?
actual thoughts on the poem
Added by: Australian boy
lthough id hate to break a trend, ive decided to actually post my thoughts on the poem and not my thoughts on the sexuality of the author.

This poem is about a person (it is not spelled out whether or not the author is male or female) who dies at a time when the believe that they are not ready. The rest of the poem seems to be about the woman thinking over her life, after she is already dead. The children probably represent life and in particular youth.

the description of the house is interesting, i beleive it is actually FROM a different poem (someone may be able to help me with that) and i beleive the house is a symbol of something being worn down, as in a person being worn down by life.

Im truthfully not sure exactly what the poem is about, but that is the beauty of emily dickinson, she invites you to really think about her meanings.
Because I Could Not Stop for Death
Added by: Katrina
The poem is about the fact that death is unexpected and eternal life and immortality. Death decides when this persons time is up and polietly takes them to their grave. The person who died is presumably a women due to the fact that she is wearing a gown and a hat made of tulle. Therefore death is being gentlemen like towards her and her afterlife.

The house is actually her grave as it is to be her ner home. Centuries on she realises that the horses heads that lead the carriage were really taking her to her afterlife.

Its quite a simple poem that says alot about death. It has nothing to do with her sexuality or background or anything else. You may not like the poem and not everyone is meant to but at least appreciate what it is saying and what a tallent Emily Dickenson had.
Added by: *Princess*
this is what i understood FROM the it...

Speaker expresses death as eternity and immortality. Both are the two themes of the poem. First to third stanza -We pass death. A shift is involued in forth to last stanza being death passes us.

i don't understand the being of the house... i figure it's just another pick up by death.
About Poem
Added by: Angelia
What Katrina said is actually pretty accurate. The speaker is a woman, because of her gown and hat. Also, she is believed to be a woman, because death is personified as a gentleman caller. He is "picking her up for a date" in his carriage. He is not picking up other people, hence "the carriage held but just ourselves and immortality." Actually the situations after that, the children, the setting sun, etc., represent the different periods of her life. (Like, when your life flashes before you.) The house, which seems a swelling of the groud, is her grave. The mound is like when a new grave has the dirt not yet packed down. The poem simply makes death seem like a long-awaited date. One that everyone must go on. You remember your past and think about the life that you have, and then, you go INTO eternity. It truly is a great poem that speaks a lot.

P.S. Not that it matters, but there is still debate about Dickinson's orientation...nothing has been proven.
Added by: mern
I agree with Angelina, except for one part. I believe the 'house that seemed a swelling in the ground' is just used to SHOW that they are asending INTO heaven.
Added by: Anon
I feel it's very obvious that the swelling in the ground represents the grave. As well as the school yard representing childhood, gazing grain representing maturarity, setting sun representing old age. this is a univerisaly applicable poem about the sudden and mysterious nature of death. To mr. x, i say only this, try actually thinking when you read the poem, sometimes things make more sense that way
Added by: Katie
It's a shame that just because Mr. X couldn't understand this poem he had to put it, as well as the author, down with his obviously homophobic comments.
Added by: Anonymous
It is not even worth commenting on the remarks made about Miss Dickinson's sexulaity because clearly it has nothing to do with the poem. I believe that it takes an overall light tone regarding death. Death is not a terrifying experience, but a courtly gentleman caller. The journey represents a reflection on the phases of her life. For example, the schoolchildren stands for her youth, the fields of grain stands for her maturity and the setting sun is a symbol of her last stage. The poem then takes a darker tone in the fourth and fifth stanzas. The poet is not prepared for the "chill". She realizes that the carriage is a hearse and the destination is the cemetery, not heaven. The grave is then described as a house, and with this symbol some comfort is restored.
Added by: Tom
I agree with the above comment except for the last comment about the final destination being the grave. The last two lines SHOW that the horses were leading them towards eternity meaning she would spend eternity traveling along in this carriage (they have already been traveling for Centuries since they stopped at the house). Above statements also said that they paused to pick people up but this cannot be the case because if they were picking people up as they went along then she would not have been in the carraige alone with death. She is not the first person ever to die.

There are still two parts I have not deciphered the first is "Or rather - He passed Us-." What is being personified as passing them? The sun finally setting, Death (he is in the carraige with her though so i doubt this is right), is this them passing INTO the afterlife (she has just watched her life pass before her and hence the chill she experiences).

The other part that still confuses me is the description of the house. She uses the verb "was" and this is odd because she goes out of her way to not use it earlier in the poem (when describing her gown and Tippet).

On a closing note I do hate poetry (give me some multivariable calc anyday) but I do understand that its holds value and is not gay.

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