Engish 1a Dickinson Essay

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It is a cliché that the only two unavoidable realities in life are death and taxes. Taxes can, as any number of persons and corporations prove every year, be avoided; death however, is another matter. The end of all life is death. That reality has plagued humankind as far back as we have records of their thoughts. Frequently, death is seen as something to be feared, something to be fought, like Thomas Dylan urges his father: “Rage, rage at the dying of the light.” Not everyone fears death though. Some facing protracted, painful ends of life have been known to welcome it. So, how one feels about death can be seen in their religious affiliations, if any, their life style, and if we are fortunate enough to have a record, their thoughts on the subject. One person who definitely did not fear death was the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson who, in her famous poem “Because I could Not Stop for Death,” by personifying death as a gentleman caller taking her to keep a date she was too busy living to arrange, creates an image of death as a suitor which is buttressed by the metaphoric descriptions she gives of her journey with him, the cumulative effect of which is to given a sense of the poet’s open-armed embrace for the end of life. Dickinson’s six stanza poem works only when the reader recognizes her comfort with death. A comfort that is manifest in the way he is portrayed. More than that, it is death’s gentle company that allows Dickinson to calmly reflect on what she must necessarily leave behind in the living world. The full personification comes in three lines wherein Dickinson animates death, thereby creating her central image of death as a gentleman caller. The personification opens the poem; “Because I could not stop for Death, / He kindly stopped for me” (lis 1 –2), and is completed at the close of the second stanza when she describes how she is perfectly

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