Hopelessness and Death in “It was not Death, for I stood up”

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In her poem “It was not Death, for I stood up,” Emily Dickinson creates a depressing state of hopelessness felt by the speaker when trying to understand the tormented condition of her psychological state. The poem produces an extended metaphor of death, which resembles the speaker’s life and state of mind, through the use of various literary devices, such as parallel structure, repetition, imagery, personification, and simile, in order to create an overwhelming sense of hopelessness regarding the speaker’s undefined condition.
Since the poem starts with the unidentified pronoun “it,” both the reader and the speaker attempt to figure out what this word is referring to throughout the progression of the work (Dickinson 1209). The first and second stanza describe various things that the speaker’s condition is not, such as “not Death,” “not Night,” and “not Frost.” Dickinson uses parallel structure and the repetition of the phrase “it was not” followed by reasons that eliminate a possibility of what “it” is, which gives the stanzas a sense of order, as well as constant juxtapositions tha...
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