Emily Dickinson's Light Imagery

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Tiffany Rice April 4, 2013 Broadwell English 232 The Power of Light Emily Dickinson’s poetry showcases numerous types of focuses, many of which are related to light and its reference to religion. Her creativity and multifaceted meanings of poetry gave her works the ability to stay relevant. The light imagery seen in Dickinson’s poetry is used to reinforce religious complexities of transitions between life and death, appearances of rage and pain, literal expressions of sight, and vast enlightenments of truth. These extremely diverse focuses all come together in the presence of Dickinson’s light imagery with the use of metaphors, syntax, and religious references. One would not expect Dickinson to use the fading of light for poems about death. Dickinson tends to toy with the subject in many of her works. “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” falls under the vast category associated with the light imagery in poems about death. Immediately in the first line, Dickinson implies that there is some force that makes it impossible to succumb to death’s call. Following in the second line, “He kindly stopped for me”, implies that the creeping chill of death that was upon her drew back to a halt. This would seem to imply that Death’s reach receded for a short period of time with the mindset that He will eventually catch up with her regardless of her efforts. There seems to be an intense passion for youth and life, which can be seen in the lines “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”1. The scenery they passed is all associated with the youthful excursions one takes part in during his or her life. There is also a reminiscent tone in the repetitive use of the word “passed”, suggesting this may be a journey of her past. In addition, all of the scenes they
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