Death is something no one bears the power to control. Emily Dickinson does an extraordinary job at presenting death in many of her poems. Dickinson uses death as the central theme for many of her poems. Living next to the cemetery from a young age, it had a great influence on Dickinson and her incorporation of death and immortality in her poems. Emily Dickinson talks about death and the meaning of death in many of the poems give her readers an understanding of how darkness can be viewed. It is strange for a writer to talk about death as much as she does, however, it is presented very smoothly in her poems. Talking so much about death, it seemed, as Dickinson was obsessed with the idea of an afterlife. The loss of a very close friend, Samuel
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Many, including I, have heard this statement a thousand times, “I have so much to do and so little time.” This statement explains what two poets were trying to say through their poems. In the poems, Death Be Not Proud by John Donne, and Because I Could Not Stop for Death by Emily Dickinson, the power that death has over one’s life and the power that one has over death becomes a race for time. Both poems explained death in two different perspectives but both still showed the underlying current that death cannot be stopped. With the use of symbolizations and metaphors, both authors show the power of death.
Death is commonly viewed as a force that rules over us at all times, but the poems “Death, be not proud”, by John Donne, and the poem, “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”, by Emily Dickinson, paint a different light on the situation. Donne describes death, as something that should fear us rather than us fearing him, for Donne believes that death is not as powerful as we all say he is. While author Harold Bloom of John Donne: Comprehensive Research and Study Guide”, suggests that the poem was written to give people courage than present Death and his false manners. Dickinson, on the other hand sees death as something to be embraced, like a friend or lover, and when he comes we should welcome him with open arms. However, in both “Dickinson’s ‘Because I Could Not Stop for Death”, by Collamer M. Abbott, and “Because I, Persephone, Could Not Stop for Death: Emily Dickinson and the Goddess”, by Ken Hiltner, both suggest alternative views of what the poem could really be about, and what Death truly represents to them. Both Donne and Dickinson show a highly personified representation of death; giving each of their interpretations it’s own powerful personality using different types of figurative language and imagery. However while Dickinson accepts that death comes to everyone and must be embraced, Donne denies the personification that is death because of it’s presentation of power is false, but claims that what comes after is something to be welcomed.
Cam, Heather American Literature; Oct87, Vol. 59 Issue 3, p429, 4p Academic Search Complete Ebesco. Web. 25 July 2011
Emily Dickinson is one of the most popular American poets of all time. Her poetry is seen as intense and passionate. Several of her many poems seem to be devoted to death and sadness. No one seems to know the exact connections between actual events in her life and the poetry that she wrote. The reader can see vivid images of Dickinson's ideas of death in several of her poems. Dickinson's use of imagery and symbolism are apparent in several of her death poems, especially in these three: "I Felt a Funeral in My Brain," "I Heard a Fly Buzz-When I Died," and "Because I Could Not Stop for Death."
Emily Dickinson describes an unusual and meaningful trip with “Death”. The poem was written around 1863, originally, the poem was not titled. When it was published, Thomas Johnson named it depending on the meaning of the poem. Dickinson did not fond of gaining reputation and money-she even tried to avoid those. She focused on artist creation, for instance writing poems. Therefore, she achieved the extreme high levels in writing. Her poems are vacant and inspiring. She had a deep thinking about the connection of death and immortality in this poem. I am going to analyze the poem on its forms and depths to let the readers understand the poem
Emily Dickinson brings forth many different themes and concepts throughout her immense collection of poetry. One theme that is presented often in her poetry is the idea of death. Dickinson uses death in many of her works and often personifies it in unusual ways. Death, the ultimate experience, is for Dickinson the best test. It reveals the ultimate truth and reality; it makes clear the true nature of God and the state of the soul. She held the common Puritan belief that the way a person died indicated the state of his/her soul, a peaceful death being a sign of grace and harmony with God. When a much-admired friend died, she wrote to his minister to inquire about his state of mind while dying:personified. "Please Sir, to tell me if he was willing to die, and if you think him at Home, I should love so much to know certainly that he was today in heaven."
She had a lifelong obsession as much of her poetry is centered around the theme of death or someone dying. She spends all this time trying to understand this experience as another form of “the human experience.” In Dickinson’s time it was not uncommon for people to die of things that are easily curable in the 21st century (Bloom 64). She lost many dear friends such as her cousin, Emily Norcross, her nephew, Gilbert, her parents, Edward and Emily, Benjamin Newton, Leonard Humphrey, Sophia Holland and possible lovers like Judge Otis Phillips Lord and Samuel Bowles (Higgins). She had even written a poem in memory of Judge Lord in which she disguised their names as “Awe” and “Circumference” (Bloom 3). The deaths of her loved ones are a big part of why Dickinson struggled to have full faith in God. She became angry with God for taking them away and wrote: “Of Course- I prayed-/ And did God care? / He cared as much as on the Air/ A Bird- had stamped her foot-/ And cried “Give Me” (Todd).” Even the children that she was close to such as her nephew Gilbert were not spared the suffering of an early death, which Emily couldn’t understand. The people of Amherst would have immediately used God’s promise of a resurrection after death as a way of coping with the death of loved ones. Even in her grief, Emily Dickinson still acknowledged that this physical world of borrowed time would not be the final resting place. She writes that “This
Dickinson’s poems on death indicate a theology which extends the concept of stages in life to stages in death. The stages of life are briefly presented in “Because I could not stop for Death” as the subject of the poem describes the scenes she passes in the carriage; “the School, where the children strove” represents childhood; “the Fields of Gazing Grain” represents maturity; and “the Setting Sun” old age (Shaw). These three stages of life could better be described as the stages of living, as an active ongoing process through which the stages operate “as a continuum” which “invests these isolated events with meaning.” (Shaw). Dickinson creates equilibrium to these three stages of life by depicting three stages of death: dying- death of the body, death- death of the self, and immortality-the afterlife. “Death in Emily Dickinson is not singular, nor simple, that it may usefully be subdivided” into stages in order to instill the meaning generated from the stages of life into the stages of death (Nesteruk).
How does one greet death at the end of one’s life? Emily Dickinson was born on 10th December, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts (Pettinger). Although no one knows accurately when “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”, many scholars believe that her prime writing years were between 1858 and 1865 (“Emily Dickinson”). Within the confines of “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”, there is a very intriguing theme, which can be viewed as morbid or highly optimistic, then this poem contains many universal symbols that describes the cycles of life, and the personified Death, who’s a major element to the poem.
Emily Dickinson’s poetry goes where most poets refuse to go: the fear beyond death. Being surrounded by death, due to the Civil War it comes to no surprise that Dickinson would express such a morbid topic. However, it is the way that she expresses death that is significant. Her writings tend to go against her Puritan heritage by not suggesting an afterlife. In Dickinson’s poems, “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain”, “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died” and “Because I could not stop for Death” oblivion is the object to fear, not death.
Death is a prominent pre-occupation in Emily Dickinson’s poetry that through compelling imagery constructs a repellently morbid picture in the reader's mind, epitomizing interesting ideas about people and their experiences in adjusting to their own mortality. Dickinson’s use of a caesura in the opening line, “I died for beauty-but was scarce”, is a visual trigger for the reader insinuating that the speaker is trying to come to terms with her death, she is nervous about continuing and as she pauses the reader pauses with her. Dickinson's use of evocative imagery and ambiguity conducts interesting ideas about people and their experiences. This forces the reader to immediately question how the speaker is dead and yet speaking?(PAUSE) Is the speaker truly dead or metaphorically stating that she died for an ideal?(PAUSE) The persona was also scarce, as in rare, in that it was unusual that someone could die for beauty and how seldom it is to find one who is willing to live in accordance with their ideals and principles. When the persona who died searching for some truth is introduced into the poem, through the metaphor “when one who died for truth was lain”, they respect and identify with one another after configuring that they both had given their lives on the altar of principle. Intriguing ideas are presented about people and their interactive
Dickinson’s poems centering on death and religion can be divided into four categories: those focusing on death as possible extinction, those dramatizing the question of whether the soul survives death, those asserting a firm faith in immortality, and those directly treating God's concern with people's lives and destinies.
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