Because I Could Not Stop For Death Analysis

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Death: Faith in an Eternal Afterlife
While thinking of death, thoughts of grief, despair and worry arise. Perhaps this is a product of the darkness often times portrayed of death from contemporary literature, movies, and music. Movies such as “Schindler’s List” and music such as Neil Young’s “Tonight’s the Night” are just a few examples of entertainment that show the darkness and finality of death. These forms of medium only present the idea, as no one who wrote them actually experienced death and therefore the dark thoughts associated with it are ambiguous. In “712 (Because I Could not Stop for Death)”, poet Emily Dickinson also shows the darkness associated but she has a different view of death. She writes from the standpoint of a narrator
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These traits are shown in the first stanza when the speaker says “I could not stop for Death –/ He kindly stopped for me –” (1-2). From the opening of the poem, we see Dickinson capitalizing the word death. As readers, we cannot further prove this as intentional because throughout the poem Dickinson pays no attention to literary rules and capitalizes an abundance of other words which should not be capitalized. Although the capitalization of “Death” cannot be proven, her reference to death as “He” does support an argument of personifying Death. Since Death is indeed thought of as a male, he shows that he has impressive gentlemanlike qualities. In the quote at the beginning of the paragraph, Death is shown to kindly stop his carriage for the narrator. Also while driving he is said to have “slowly drove – He knew no haste” (5), which displays he is not in a hurry nor is he a rude driver and exhibits the idea of his chivalry. Once again Death is shown as gallant when the narrator says “I had put away / My labor, and my leisure too, / For His Civility –”(6-8). The good manners shown by Death were so powerful that the narrator stops her labor and leisure for them assuring readers that Death is civilized, peaceful and…show more content…
While the poem starts with Death picking her up in his carriage, the final resting ground is not the grave site. It is said “We paused before a House that seemed / A swelling of the Ground” (17-18) which tells us they stop at the grave for the narrator’s death but they only pause there inferring it is not the last place they will visit on their journey. In the final stanza of the poem she says “Since then –‘tis Centuries –and yet / Feels shorter than the Day / I first surmised the Horses’ Heads / Were toward Eternity –” (21-24). This can be interpreted as an image that shows the horses who are guiding the Narrator and Death on their carriage ride, have their heads pointing straight towards eternity, which proves that once she is buried it is not the end as she is existing in some form of an afterlife. She also says, although it was centuries ago, it “Feels shorter than the Day” (22), proving that time plays no role in eternity and that her burial feels shorter than it actually was, once again supporting the idea of her existence in an afterlife. Once reading the final stanza and seeing her existence in eternity, the quote “The Carriage held but just Ourselves –/ And Immortality” (3-4) from the first stanza begins to make more sense for the readers. If you are in a carriage with death, you are thought to be on your final ride and so the only way to
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