"Because I Could Not Stop for Death"

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Because I Could Not Stop For Death Because I Could Not Stop For Death is an eerie, but absorbing evocation of death. Written by Emily Dickinson, it is one of hundreds of poems devoted to death, as she grapples with the philosophical significance of this experience. Her provocative work is particularly characterised by a sophisticated use of language and punctuation, which patently adds depth and meaning. For the female subject of the poem, death is dispassionately met, where the separation of body and spirit is apparent. Existence beyond life is a perpetual "Eternity", signified in the metaphor of journey, as time transcends into an alternate dimension. In the opening line and title, the notion of "Death" is explicably presented to the reader, as it is positioned at the end of the line and possesses a long dash. These place an enormous emphasis upon the word; as it causes the reader to pause, it lingers within their mind, evoking the chilling implications of death. Furthermore, the capitalisation places a greater importance; it establishes the notion of Death personified as a civil gentleman. However, the reason for why the passenger "could not stop [her life] for Death" is important. A comment upon a tendency of man, Dickinson highlights the conditioned response to be fearful of it; to avoid the discomforting thought with various religious conceptions and to simply make the most out of being alive. The speaker's explicit welcoming tone of Death, as he includes her in his journey to "Eternity" contrasts with the reader's instinctively uneasy feelings regarding it. There is a soft and pleasant tone, containing no harsh sounds. For Death "kindly stopped for me"; he is gentle, well-mannered and "kindly." Furthermo... ... middle of paper ... ... The "Horses Heads" are recalled in a flash of memory of her journey with Death, which relates to the "Carriage" of the opening stanza. However, Dickinson again alludes to religion by association to the four horsemen of the apocalypse, which signify Judgement Day, or the end of the world. The passenger "surmises" that these horses were travelling in the direction of "Eternity" -her journey with Death will last forever. Emily Dickinson's poem Because I Could Not Stop For Death, presents the state of existence beyond death in terms of human experience -a philosophical concept that is explicably evoked within the reader. The distinction between mortality and immortality is resolved through the use of metaphor and tone. Death is personified as a "kindly" gentleman, who stops for a passenger and is wholeheartedly accepted, as together they travel "towards Eternity-"
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