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Because I could not stop for Death

Emily Dickinson

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2003-03-27
Added by: lolo
The poem does indeed signify death. The speaker is going on a daate in a carriage with death. And there is a chaperone (immortality) The reason for this is because in Emily's time they were required.
In the 2nd stanza they are slowly driving along, in the carriage (a hearst) and death is a polite man.
They then pass by the children playing(which symbolizes the first stage of life, the feilds of gazing grain(2nd stage of life), and the setting sun (last stage). They also passed the ring , which can be the life cycle.
They then continue going and it gets cold. And she realizes how life passed her by, not them pass it by. she was also not dressed for death wearing only a thin scarf and thin dress.
They stopped at a house or her grave site that had a swelling portion. The roof is the portion that portruded back then. The cornice was a part of cement that they used to build around the coffins to keep moisture out.
The ride has been an eternity long one but since it had been so nice at first it seemed really short. Some also think its because the days ran forever. She realizes then that she is dead and this ride will be eternal.
2003-03-22
Added by: Peter Carter
Mina said: "Emily Dickinson is a great poet she uses alot [sic] off [sic] imagery."

I don't know exactly which Emily Dickinson you're reading but, as far as I've seen, most of her poems are almost entirely devoid of imagery. In poems, such as this one, that do use imagery, it is always functionally symbolic rather than aesthetic, and therefore her use of imagery is probably her weakest suit.

Incidentally, it's her lack of imagery that bothers me most about her poetry, and the reason I dislike much of it.
In response to Peter Carter
2003-04-03
Added by: RoseWisenbaker
I have to disagree with you. I see plenty of imagery in her poems, you just have to let the words take you where they want to, and, whatever you do, do not look at them from a critical aspect. That is the worst way to judge poems such as hers. When she wrote them, she did not know how popular they would become, and so wrote them with imagination in mind, not clarity (to the best of my knowledge), so try to read them from a more imaginative stance.
What do you mean, no imagery?
2003-04-07
Added by: Will B
To say that Emily Dickinson's poem are devoid of imagery is like saying that she mostly wrote poems about happy experiences. Emily Dickinson spent most of her life as recluse and wrote her poetry for what might be called today as a form of escapism. Imagery is fundamental to her poetry. There is rich imagery in this poem and much of her other work - even if mostly people might consider it morbid and dull.
death
2003-04-07
Added by: hatice
emily dickinson in her poem shows us the cold face of death.but we go to him without stopping. perhaps we try to slow down to go to the death but he waits the big meeting with us, patiently.
2003-04-20
Added by: Mr. Ω
This poem is clearly homosexual. This fact is illustrated by several important factors:

1) Rhyming is a subconscious acknowledgement of homosexual desires due to the relationship of similar sounding vowels and same-sex partners

2) Death is a theme common in gay literatures (it has been hypothesized that this relationship exists because most, if not all, homosexuals die)

3) Obsession with clothing of fancy names--note "Gossamer," "Gown," "Tippet," and "Tulle"

4) Horse heads are an archetypal symbol of lesbianism (see Homer's Odyssey, Beowulf, and the Veddan scriptures)

These are only a few of the many examples of homosexuality referrences in "Because I Could Not Stop for Death," which have been a constant subject of scholarly debate since the 1920s. Anyone who claims the poem is not gay has entirely missed the central message and should spend a great deal of time rereading in serious contemplation. Additional resources include a scholarly article written by Harvard Professor Steven F. Muellers entitled "Death is Gay" and H. T. Brockleheimer's "Horse Heads and Emily Dickinson: Leisure and Lesbian contain many of the same letters."
Poetry
2003-04-28
Added by: fredrico
ok look im not good at critizing poetry but i know what is good and what isn't.Emily Dickinsons poetry is very unique and well thought out and everyone should be able to respect that even if she was gay
2003-11-17
Added by: not here
to Mr. Ω,
okay, "Gossamer," "Gown," "Tippet," and "Tulle" are clothes the dead were dressed in back then. Not some homosexual obsession with clothing names.
But hey, I could be wrong.. if you wanna interpret it like that, feel free. Everyone has different interpretations.
2003-11-18
Added by: Mr. B

--1) Rhyming is a subconscious acknowledgement of homosexual desires due to the relationship of similar sounding vowels and same-sex partners

1. Okay, rhyming is.. rhyming. Nothing more. Thousands of poets over the course of years, from Shakespeare to Seuss, have used rhyme to add a little bit of flair to some ordinary everyday writing.

--2) Death is a theme common in gay literatures (it has been hypothesized that this relationship exists because most, if not all, homosexuals die)

2. Death is a theme common in *all* literatures (it has been hypothesized that this relationship exists because most, if not all, people die)

--3) Obsession with clothing of fancy names--note "Gossamer," "Gown," "Tippet," and "Tulle"

3. That seems like a bit of a stereotype, no?

--4) Horse heads are an archetypal symbol of lesbianism (see Homer's Odyssey, Beowulf, and the Veddan scriptures)

4. Sometimes, a horse-head is just a horse-head. Like in the godfather.

Nobody knows (or really cares) about Dickinson's sexuality, but this poem is irrevocably about.. Death!

"Anyone who claims the poem is not gay has entirely missed the central message and should spend a great deal of time rereading in serious contemplation."
How can a poem be gay? There's something that would be memorable to see. A gay poem. Before you make a huge stand about the homosexuality of this poem, you might want to qualify how a poem can *be* gay.
2003-11-17
Added by: GŁnter
I was wondering how long it would take for someone to read Mr. Omega's (I don't know how to make the symbol on my computer...eh...) comments seriously. To you, Mr. Omega, I think your post is one of the most hilarious things I've read in a while. To "not here," it's really funny, but if you try to find these articles, they don't exist. I mean, seriously, "Leisure and Lesbian contain many of the same letters"? Grow a sense of humor and then be less literal-minded. It's liberating.

But about the poem itself, I have to say that I think Emily Dickinson is great. Her poems are in general a form of her establishing her own identity. Here, among other things, she skewers the idea (common one during her time) of the afterlife being like home. She often questioned spirituality and what would happen after death. "Because I could not stop for death" is a great poem, and I love her image of death as a gentleman caller, whom she agrees to go with because of his "civility."

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