Because I Could Not Stop for Death--Emily Dickinson

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Because I could not stop for Death Emily Dickinson Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality. We slowly drove, he knew no haste, And I had put away My labor, and my leisure too, For his civility. We passed the school, where children strove At recess, in the ring; We passed the fields of gazing grain, We passed the setting sun. Or rather, he passed us; The dews grew quivering and chill, For only gossamer my gown, My tippet only tulle. We paused before a house that seemed A swelling of the ground; The roof was scarcely visible, The cornice but a mound. Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each Feels shorter than the day I first surmised the horses' heads Were toward eternity. Because I Could Not Stop For Death--Emily Dickinson Helen Chow Emily Dickinson’s poem ‘Because I could not stop for Death’ deal with death again and again, and it is never quite the same in any poem. In “Because I could not stop for Death—,” we see death personified. He is no frightening, or even intimidating, reaper, but rather a courteous and gentle guide, leading her to eternity. The speaker feels no fear when Death picks her up in his carriage, she just sees it as an act of kindness, as she was too busy to find time for him. It is this kindness, this individual attention to her—it is emphasized in the first stanza that the carriage holds just the two of them, doubly so because of the internal rhyme in “held” and “ourselves”—that leads the speaker to so easily give up on her life and what it contained. This is explicitly stated, as it is “For His Civility” that she puts away her “labor” and her “leisure,” which is Dickinson using metonymy to represent another alliterative word—her life. Indeed, the next stanza shows the life is not so great, as this quiet, slow
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