Emily Dickinson's Because I Could Not Stop For Death

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In Emily Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop for Death,” she uses the structure of her poem and rhetoric as concrete representation of her abstract beliefs about death to comfort and encourage readers into accepting Death when He comes. The underlying theme that can be extracted from this poem is that death is just a new beginning. Dickinson deftly reassures her readers of this with innovative organization and management, life-like rhyme and rhythm, subtle but meaningful use of symbolism, and ironic metaphors. Dickinson organizes the lines into quatrains—stanzas containing four lines—which are frequently used in religious hymns. She chooses this arrangement of verse in order to ordain a religious aspect into the poem, which does well to suite the theme and what she is fond of. As the recollection of the speaker’s death progresses, Dickinson uses the stanzas to mark the stages of the…show more content…
When Death stops for the speaker, he reins a horse-drawn carriage as they ride to her grave. This carriage symbolizes a hearse of which carries her coffin to her grave a day or two after her death. As they ride, they pass, “the School… / the Fields of Gazing Grain— / [and] the Setting Sun—” (lines 9-12). These three symbolize the speakers life, from childhood in the playgrounds, to labor in the fields, and finally to the setting sun of her life. When the speaker and Death arrive at the house, it is night. The house symbolizes either a mausoleum or her grave, which, if the latter, she describes it as a house in the ground to portray that she is comfortable and accepting of her death and her grave. In the final stanza, the speaker states that she, “first [surmises] the Horses’ Heads [are] toward Eternity” (lines 23-24). She uses the horses’ heads as a warm sense of direction, which ironically isn’t towards any concrete place but a place oblivious of
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