Because I could not stop for Death is one of the most popular poems written by Emily Dickinson, a famous American poetess. This lyrical poem was first published in 1890. Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1830. Dickinson began writing verse at an early age, practicing by rewriting poems from magazines, books, and newspapers. Fewer than a dozen of nearly 1,800 poems of Dickinson were published during her lifetime, and all of them were significantly altered by editors.
The poem is about the deceased narrator who reminisces how the day Death came for her. Dickinson presents Death as a gentleman caller who takes a carriage ride with the poet escorting her to the grave.
In the poem, the speaker states that she could not stop for Death because were too busy, but he managed to stop her. In the carriage, she was along with Immortality and Death. This is one of the most famous examples of figurative language and personification in American literature. Many readers were wondering why Immortality would also ride in the carriage, but a lady needed to have a chaperon at those times. Also, according to Dickinson, Death and Immortality are fellow travelers. The speaker interacts with Death showing trust. At the end of the poem, the poetess mentions Eternity that can be seen behind the semblance of Death. The personification of Death in the poem changes from one of pleasantry to one of morbidity and ambiguity. Death appears to be is, in reality, a ghoulish seducer. Probably Dickinson, being familiar with the Bible, draws upon Satan’s visitation of God as a country gentleman. This poem resembles the Gothic novel, and the sinister and supernatural are traditional to the popular Romantic genre.
The speaker describes the leisurely journey and does not mind being interrupted from her tasks because Death was courteous. As they were riding, they passed the children’s school and fields. They also passed the setting sun, so slow was their pace. These parts remind the readers of the cyclical nature of human life. As it was getting darker and the event came, the speaker felt coolness and decided that she does not have the proper clothes. Finally, they came to a cemetery and approached the place where the speaker would be dwelling for centuries. In the realm of Death, the speaker found that time has elapsed into centuries, though it seems shorter if compare with her last day of life when she first believed that her journey was toward Eternity.
Because I could not stop for Death is one of the most popular poems written by Emily Dickinson, a famous American poetess. This lyrical poem was first published in 1890. Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1830. Dickinson began writing verse at an early age, practicing by rewriting poems from magazines, books, and newspapers.