Collamer M Abbott. The Explicator. Washington: Spring 2000.Vol. 58, Iss. 3; pg. 140, 4 pgs
People: Dickinson, Emily (1830-86)
Author(s): Collamer M Abbott
Document types: Feature
Publication title: The Explicator. Washington: Spring 2000. Vol. 58, Iss. 3; pg. 140, 4 pgs
Source type: Periodical
Text Word Count 1077
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=000000056709394&Fmt=3&cli entId=43168&RQT=309&VName=PQD
Abstract (Document Summary)
Once one realizes that Emily Dickinson is talking about a stone burial vault in "Because I could not stop for Death," an image that expands the metaphoric power of the poem, one can appreciate more fully related imagery in her poems. The figure of the "House" in "Because I could not stop for Death" and "I died for Beauty" expands the symbolism immeasurably beyond the moldy receptacle of an underground grave, to a hospitable dwelling.
Full Text (1077 words)
Copyright HELDREF PUBLICATIONS Spring 2000
Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me
The Carriage held but just Ourselves
We slowly drove-He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility
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 Dews drew quivering and chill
For only Gossamer, my Gown
My Tippet-only Tulle
We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground
The Roof was scarcely visible
The Cornice-in the GroundSince then--'tis Centuries-and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
were toward Eternity--*
Emily Dickinson's "Because I could not stop for Death" (no. 712) has aroused conflicting interpretations. For example, Clark Griffith in The Long Shadow sees death as a "courtly lover," and "kindness" and "civility" he accepts "at face value" as describing "Death" as a "gentleman" (127-31). We can accept little at face value in Dickinson, and this is why she is so difficult to interpret.
Griffith has a point, however. "Death," in this poem, may represent the funeral director, because in...
... middle of paper ...
...ion of preservation for which these structures are used, not only of vegetables in a root cellar, but of roses, and of the "Immortality" of Dickinson's speaker for "Centuries" that "feel shorter than the day"-for "Eternity." The figure of the "House" in these poems expands the symbolism immeasurably beyond the moldy receptacle of an underground grave, to a hospitable dwelling. -COLLAMER M. ABBOTT, White River Junction, Vermont
*Reprinted by permission of the publisher and the Trustees of Amherst College from The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Thomas H. Johnson, ed. Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, copyright 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983 by the President and fellows of Harvard College.
Farr, Judith. The Passion of Entity Dickinson. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1992.
Griffith, Clark. The Long Shadow: Entity Dickinson's Tragic Poetry. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1964. Johnson, Thomas H. The Complete Poems of Entity Dickinson. Boston, Little, 1955. All references to Dickinson's poems are to this edition.
Miller, Ruth. The Poetry of Entity Dickinson Middletown: Wesleyan UP, 1968.
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