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Because I could not stop for Death

Emily Dickinson

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Added by: Mr. S
i think Dickinson does a great job in this poem.Death is seen as a person and not something which is to be feared and it need not symbolise the end.She also gives a balanced account of death, saying that we lose the things we enjoy but we are also rid of those things that caused us harm.Great poem!
Why take everything so seriously?
Added by: Ms.V
First I'm going to start off with praising Mr. Omega for his hilarity and genius at taking advantage of all the morons out there who take stuff way too seriously and Gunter for pointing that out...it was FUNNY. Read it again guys, maybe it'll make it through a second time around...

As for the poem, Dickinson uses language in an unbelievable way. I know that I may be repeating many points already made but certain metaphors and imagery are obvious, some are not. The poem has fairly obvious Christian connotations (those that know Dickinson know that she struggled with religion) and I believe that the Immortality that she shares the carriage with is her soul. Think about it. As far as the setting sun goes, she's correcting herself. They didn't pass the sun, the sun passed them, as it must pass all those that die. It's something to think about that she uses the word "passed" in every stanza but the 4th where she says "paused". This is her grave. The "house" metaphor is not used to describe a conventional grave as we know it, rather a burial vault. It makes more sense when you consider the words that she uses. Her use of visual imagery is rich in the first 4 stanzas, begins to fade and then we are left with only the horses heads in the last. It's a strong image of consistency, because that's what has been in front of her on this whole journey. Before she knows it, she's headed toward Eternity.

She says, "Since then-'tis Centuries--and yet/ Feels shorter than the Day" She's saying that she's still concious of time, though she's been dead for "centuries" but nothing can possibly compare to the day that she died, the last day of her life.

In short, the poem employs many different poetic devices and can be interpreted in many different ways. Maybe that's where it's intrigue lies...good luck, and God speed...
Added by: ashly
I just learn this poem in my class.
This poem is about Emily's opinion to the marriage. She is comparing death to marriage. In this period, when the woman marries, they will lose their all freedom and must be under the husband, so for Emily that is like a death.
The poems about...
Added by: Gina
The poem is about a woman graciously opening her arms to death. When death comes to pick her up at his home, she welcomes him, and even comments about his politeness even though he does surprise her with his visit. She seems almost flattered that death has come to her and offered a ride in this carriage. She doesnt exactly notice immortality in the back seat till the end. They take this carriage ride threw some massive symbolism like the children playing. The children are a symbol of youth and the ring that the children play on is another symbol of eternity. The wheat gazing at this woman is just a sign that you dont exactly notice the little things. Then when she stops at her grave she knows that that is gonna be the house for her body but not her soul. She understands that her soul is gonna be left for eternity. Then she finally understands the meaning or reason by immortality sitting in the back seat.
Added by: Hugo

I think one thing that most people seem to be missing here is the significance of death being represented as a male figure. although death is a 'gentleman' and perfectly civil, he is also overbearing and Dickinson has no choice but to abandon her 'labour and her leisure too' in order to oblige this gentleman caller. although of course this says something about the unavoidable and unexpected nature of death, it also says something about Dickinsons perception of the neccessity of deference to a male figure. we must after all consider how different the poem would be if death was a woman.
My take
Added by: Jennafer Leveille
To lilith. While I agree with most of what you siad, you forgot to mention that Death is her companion.
(i dont have the text before me so i won't get the punctuation right but i have most of it memorized forgicve the inconvience)

"Becasue I could not stop for Death he kindly stopped for me, the carriage held just but our selves and immortality"

This is her symbolic take on what it is like to die. The black carriage, is a common symbol of death (see Darby O'Gill and the Little Peopl hehe)

"We slowly drove he knew no haste, and I had put away, Mt LAbor and my leasure too for his civlility"

She is more than ready for death at this point for she has come to accept that there is no changing this.

The rest goes on into a sequence of images where she sees her life flashing before her eyes and muses about weather the sun passes us or we pass the sun. (setting signifying the end of life)

Then ofcource it ends with a seen of her new home, a tomb where she will stay for all of eternity.
Added by: Clara
This poem is the greatest...it is soo great that i love it soo much...it is very clever and uniquely written..rock on!
english lit
Added by: sultan k
emily dickinson an AMerican poet of 17 hundreds, many of Emily Dickinson's poems deal with her beliefs concerning the process of death, the rituals surrounding death and the question of immortality. i genuinly believe she was a very brave woman of her time, even if she were a homosexual or so forth it doesnt change my thoughts of her she was a very respectable woman and should be acknowledged by all
Added by: mr kiss off
mr y if you ACTUALLY understood the poem then maybe it would make sense. it is a serious poem with quite a meaning. you douche
Added by: Danielle
Thanks to EVERYONE who posted an opinion or interpretation on this sight. They were all interesting and highly diverse.
And isn't that what poetry is all about?
Can anyone really state with certainty the emotion that Dickinson felt when writing this poem or uncover its true intent?
No. Because her experiences were entirely her own; as with every individual.
We each bring something different and unique to the literature we read. Whether it be a deep appreciation and understanding of an interpreted meaning or a feeling of disgust and indifference, poetry is what you want it to be.

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