Is Death Easy to Accept?

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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.

Dickinson takes a very different approach to death in her poem; she represents death as a chivalrous man, and accepts him as if it is her time. Her journey of acceptance has several parts, the first part being death coming to her with immortality as a passenger in the first stanza (Immortal...

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...n the time comes you can accept death for what it is, or fear it, though it will only have power over you for an instant, because the real power lies with people and disease.

Works Cited

Abbott, Collamer M. "Dickinson's 'Because I could not stop for death'." Explicator

58.3 (2000): 140-143. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 29 April. 2011.

Bloom, Harold. John Donne: Comprehensive Research and Study Guide. Broomall:

Chelsea House Pub, 1999. Print.

Booth, Alison, andKelly J. Mays, “Because I Could Not Stop For Death/ Death, be not

proud.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Peter Simon. New York W.W. Norton & Company, 2010, p.1162-1163&1321.

Hiltner, Ken. "Because I, Persephone, Could Not Stop for Death: Emily Dickinson and

the Goddess." Emily Dickinson Journal 10.2 (2001): 22-42. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 1 Apr. 2011.
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