Because I could not stop for Death, by Emily Dickinson

1127 Words5 Pages
‘Because I could not stop for Death—,’ A Poem of Both Marriage and Death

When thinking of both marriage and death, the word “eternity” comes to mind. Marriage is looked at as a symbol of eternal love, and death is looked at as a state of eternal rest. Also, Christians consider life after death as an eternal state. In “Because I could not stop for Death—,” Emily Dickinson portrays death by describing an eternal marriage.

On the literal level, the speaker remembers a time where she was carried off and eloped with a man called Death and his partner in crime, Immortality. Not realizing that going with Death meant that she would have to leave this world and live with him in his house forever, she shows herself as being immature at that time. As she leaves to go with Death the speaker states, “We slowly drove—He knew no haste/And I had put away/My labor and my leisure too, /For his Civility--”. In these lines, she shows how she must leave her household to work for her new husband. On the way to Death’s house they “passed the school, where Children strove/At Recess—in the Ring—“. The fact that she mentions the kids fighting and playing at recess also shows how she must leave her life of leisure for a life of work. She must go work for her husband Death at his household.

The next quatrain is when the speaker finally realizes that she is leaving this world to join Death in his world. She states, “We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain—/We passed the Setting Sun—/Or rather—He passed Us—“. The next lines also show how she is leaving her world into another, colder environment. The speaker says “The Dews drew quivering and chill—/For only Gossamer, my Gown—/My Tippet—only Tulle—“. The gown and scarf that she had worn f...

... middle of paper ...

...hyme scheme follows an ABCB pattern. By that I mean that the second and last lines of every quatrain rhyme. This makes the poem flow well but not as fast as a poem with an ABAB rhyme scheme. Another technique I noticed was that Dickinson capitalizes the first letter of some important words in the lines to make the reader emphasize them as he or she reads. For example in the line “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—,” the reader must emphasize the words that are capitalized to get the effect of a slower poem.

This poem was a good example of what marrying Death would feel like. Since no one has really died and came back to tell us how it feels, Dickinson does a good job of showing death from the perspective of a dead person or immortal soul.
Open Document