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Because I could not stop for Death

Emily Dickinson

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2003-11-26
Added by: me
Who cares what Mr x put!! I mean this site helps me with understanding the poems i read for class. So i come here often and whenever i come across an ignorant fool like mr x i just scroll down till is find somebody who actually knows whast they are talking about.
my thuughts
2003-11-26
Added by: me
I belive this poem is very ironic. She said the death kindly stopped for her. When is death ever kind? I believe that it is just a joke at how no one is really ready to die but it comes anyways.
to Mr. X, Y, Z, and Q (also something about the po
2003-12-05
Added by: someone
For one thing, Mr. X, Emily Dickinson was not a lesbian. She was a briliant author that showed exquisite view of life and death, of love and loss, and of nature. Just because that you did not understand this poem, you did not have to put it down.

Mr. Y, I agree with you fully and Mr. Z, people are entitled to their own opinions and yes, Mr. X as well. But he has not given the poem a chance before he said his comment.

Mr. Q, I found your comment particularly disgusting. Death may or may not be the central theme in gay literature, as you so eloquently described it, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Emily Dickinson was a lesbian herself. She had suffered a lot of death in her life; her mother died two years after her father followed closely by a friend that she was fond of. It could be that that was what made her obsessed with death. And that comment on how homosexuals die . . . well, news flash! We All Die, homosexual or not. And those scholars that you mentioned have their opinions of Emily Dickinson, but in my opinion, they're wrong.

The poem does not prove that Emily Dickinson was gay or why she never married because she had many romantic entanglements with men. "Because I Could Not Stop For Death" is not gay. It tells of "Death" bringing the persona on a carriage ride.

We slowly drove—He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility—

The above means that Death slowly drove the persona away. "And I had put away My labor and my leisure too, For his Civility--" means that the persona didn't want to be rude to Death. She wanted to have manners. From there she goes on and writes about how they "passed school children." Usually, one would start to have flashbacks of their life during the few seconds that they have left. The persona is thinking of his or her childhood and other flashbacks of his or her life. Then at the end, it says:

Since then—'tis Centuries—and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Were toward Eternity—

Emily Dickinson means that moment of finding out that she was dead was longer than the aftermath. I think she meant that her life and all the horrors and the few happy moments of joy were longer than the Eternity she spent after death.

This poem does not mention anything regarding Emily Dickinson's supposed sexuality. For all of you who have gotten it in their head that Emily Dickinson was in any way a lesbian, I think that you should focus on the originality of her writing. She has a unique sense of style that no other author could achieve. Many poets and authors have been inspired by her writing. For another thing, those of you who wrote comments on anything related to homosexuality, I think you should stop discriminating about homosexuals. They are what they are as we are what we are. Just because they're different and just because they aren't straight, that is no reason to discriminate people. Perhaps it was people with your attitudes that made Emily Dickinson live a life of seclusion. She lost her trust in people and the world and they never gained it back. Nevertheless, Emily Dickinson was a brilliant poet, perhaps even more brilliant than the most famous ones, and those comments on her sexuality or anyone's sexuality is utterly degrading and demeaning. Keep those comments to yourself.
2003-12-10
Added by: Emma
Hi to everyone who posted something stupid...haha yall gave me a laugh while i was scrolling down trying to find something actually relevant to the poem. Thanks to those who gave me help on my explication.
Peace.
2004-01-19
Added by: Jennifer K.
Here is what you're all looking for! The true meaning of Dickinson's words...although I'm not saying that I'm completely right, I just thought I'd share my thoughts with everybody.

STANZA 1 AND 2:
An old person (gender not yet determined)
Carriage (only a symbol, not actually a carriage)
"We slowly drove-he knew no haste"
"HE" symbolizes death itself...not hurrying to take personís life just yet.

STANZA 3:
School and children represent her youth.
"Fields of grazing grain"
Ponder this: what happens when wheat is ripe???
"Setting sun"
The setting sun symbolizes that darkness is near and perhaps this may be person's last moments.

STANZA 4:
"The dews drew quivering and chill"
Donít these words make you feel cold? Perhaps this person is feeling the cold of death creep over them.

STANZA 5:
I love this stanza!!!
"A house that seemed a swelling of the ground, the roof was scarcely visible"
What happens to headstones when they've been in the ground for a long time? Well, they start to sink...ground can't hold that thing forever. House meaning her resting place for her eternal life. Oh! And another hint is the "swelling of the ground" where people are buried...don't know how often you've been in a grave-yard, but the ground is VERY un-even.
"In the ground" hmm...does that help a bit?

STANZA 6:
The final farewell of our beloved "person"(whose gender STILL has not yet been determined)
After that long journey that "feels shorter that a day" (in other words, life has been too short) it is time to rest. The horseís heads were pointed to eternity, meaning that the "carriage" was taking "person" to their new, eternal home.

Ahh! That was a good poem, indeed. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did ^_^
Just the way I view things...
2004-01-19
Added by: R. Dawson
Many of the above people who have submitted comments do not realize the beauty of this poem. I have a strong feeling that many of them didn't even care to take in the meanings of Dickinson's words. Check out her wording in the fifth stanza...amazing! She describes this headstone as what will soon become her eternal home. How anybody could interpret this poem to be her sexual desires...I have no idea. I think that this poem is beautiful and incredibly deep and sad. I hope that maybe more people will come to realize this as well.
2004-03-05
Added by: Katie
I agree with a lot of the comments about the poem. This has helped me out a bunch. Now that I have read what other people think of it I can make the connections in the poem. Such as the children represents youth and the setting sun represents old age or getting older. I am not positive about the sexuality in it. I loved to read what you all had to say about it though. I think that there is not one specific answer to her poems. I think that everyone will take it in a different way! Thanks for helping me understand!!!
2004-03-05
Added by: Chris
I think that this poem is a benchmark in the what the process of writing poetry has come to be. To those of you looking for an answer to what this poem is about; there is no right answer. The beauty of this poem and almost all poetry is that it can be interpreted any way that you like. The poet knew what it meant to her and how it was something inside of her that had to be said, but many people will see the poem in many different lights. In my opinion I saw the speaker as looking back on her life in a flash of the moment before she died. Death stopping for her was the pause before her final pulse and everything that she saw was an overview of her existence. But as I have said, that is just one opinion. If you need to understand the poem better for a class or whatever, study the poem until it speaks to you. No teacher can argue with the way you feel about a poem. If they do, then they aren't very good teachers to stifle your creativity. This is how I feel on the subject.
i got a completely different interpretation...
2004-03-15
Added by: quang ngy
I don't think death should be taken literally as most things are used as symbols in Dickinsons writing. Note that around when stanza four starts she starts viewing death in a negative way? This isn't actually death but a day when her life symbolically ended, a day when her lover broke up with her. Her life flashes by, which is why it says that death showed her these things.She then says its been centuries but it feels like yesterday and the house is symbolically her grave because she stays in it and writes her poems.
Do any of you guys know about her one boyfriend who just broke up with her causing her to write all these poems?
so death is her ex-lover.
well thats wat i got anyways
great poet
2004-04-21
Added by: christina
emily dickinson is a great poet. this poem represents her outlook on death as being a natural occurence that you should not fight. you should rather die open minded and thankful for the life you have lived.

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