Because I Could Not Stop for Death Analysis – A Poem By Emily Dickinson, Summary, Analysis, Themes and Literacy

Emily Dickinson Because I Could Not Stop for Death Analysis: ‘Because I Could Not Stop For Death is a lyrical sonnet or poem written by Emily Dickinson, first published after her death in Poems: Series 1 in 1980. It is still unknown whether Because I could not stop for Death was “abandoned” or complete as Dickinson’s work was never authorized to be published.

The speaker in Dickinson’s poem meets personified Death. She uses personification to display Death and Immortality as characters. Her knowledge of Death and Immortality toward the start of the poem makes the reader feel calm with the possibility of Death. Be that as it may, as the poem advances, an unexpected move in tone makes readers perceive the truth about Death, cold-blooded and evil.

Students can also check the English Summary to revise with them during exam preparation.

Summary of Because I Could Not Stop for Death

The poem is one of the most praised poems of Emily Dickinson and was formed around 1863. In the poem, a female speaker recounts how she was visited by “Death”— exemplified as a “sympathetic” refined man—and had a good time within his carriage.

This ride seems to take the speaker past images of the various phases of life before stopping at what is in all probability her own grave—without a doubt, it appears she, at the end of the day, is as of now dead.

A significant part of the poem’s force comes from its refusal to offer simple or shortsighted solutions to life’s most prominent secret—what happens when individuals kick the bucket—, and the poem can be perused both as the expectation of a sublime Christian life following death and as something by and large grimmer and more sensible.

The poem ends with the author saying that it has been centuries since all of this happened, and she first realized the horse’s heads were pointing towards “eternity.”

Because I Could Not Stop for Death Themes

We can find various important themes in ‘Because I could not stop for Death.’ Three of the essential theme is given below:

Theme 1: The Certainty of Death

We definitely realize that the way toward dying on is vital to “Because I could not stop for Death.” Even more explicit than that, however, is the possibility that demise is inescapable.

We can see that the speaker is confronting the certainty of death from the absolute first refrain. The speaker said that they “couldn’t stop for Death,” which shows they had not really wanted to kick the bucket – yet Death came for them at any rate.

Theme 2: The link between Life and Death

The second topic that we’ll cover here is the excellence of life. From start to finish, “Because I could not stop for Death” depicts how the liveliness and totality of life really describe the way toward passing on.

This poem is about the excursion with Death as an individual advance from life to Eternity. However, the carriage ride isn’t what you may anticipate! It’s not loaded with trouble, haziness, and…well, dead individuals.

As the speaker bites the dust, they can return to these tranquil and upbeat minutes once more. In that manner, biting the dust is as much about encountering life one last time, all things considered about making it to your last rest.

Theme 3: The Ambiguity of the Afterlife

Another significant subject conspicuous in “Because I could not stop for Death” is the hereafter’s vulnerability. The speaker appears to suggest that, similarly, however much we can’t handle when Death stops for us, we can’t handle what occurs (or doesn’t occur) in the hereafter.

Toward the finish of the poem’s first refrain, the speaker expresses that Immortality (additionally represented!) went along for the carriage ride. Apparently, Death got Immortality en route to the speaker’s home.

Immortality is introduced as an expected ally to the speaker—a conviction or presence that can give solace and harmony as she faces the certainty of Death.

Because I Could Not Stop for Death themes

Tone and Mood of the Poem (Because I Could Not Stop for Death)

The poem shows an uncommon tone toward death and embodies the typically dismal subject of human mortality.

In Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for Death,” the speaker is lighthearted and offbeat in her mentality toward Death, who stops by in a carriage. When she doesn’t consider him that Death earns, she says that he “compassionate” makes a trip for her. Her interest appears to outwit her, so she enthusiastically ventures into his carriage and rides along comfortably with him.

Dickinson’s utilization of pictures like kids at the break on the jungle gym and “Fields of Gazing Grain” emphasize the reality that the speaker doesn’t seem, by all accounts, to be even a tiny bit worried about riding around with Death. As the poem ends, the speaker concedes that when she ventured on board the carriage, she didn’t realize that the “Ponies Heads/Were toward Eternity,” keeping her a secret forever. Yet, even now, the speaker’s tone doesn’t get terrible or serious.

The poem’s mood is the emotional journey that the poet is trying to create for the reader. It is what the reader should perceive while reading and after completing the poem. In the case of this poem, the tone and mood are intertwined together.

Because I Could Not Stop for Death Structure and Form

The poem is made of six quatrains or four-line paras. It uses a traditional meter often found in nursery rhymes or hymns, known as the common meter. The poem’s lines are arranged in iambs, two-syllable segments, or metrical feet, in which the second syllable is stressed, whereas the first syllable is unstressed. Quatrains written in common meter have alternately eight-syllables, known as iambic tetrameter, and six syllables, known as iambic trimeter, to the line.

In contrast to her contemporary artists, Dickinson didn’t feel it was important to utilize precise rhymes and frequently moved or adjusted traditional rhyming examples to new utilize. The third refrain of this poem, for example, has no customary rhyme yet gets its musicality from the three-time redundancy of “We passed” and the alliterative dull sounds in “Gazing Grain” and “Setting Sun.” Still, however “away/politeness” in quatrain two isn’t a rhyme; the sound example is repeated pleasantly in the last quatrain with “Day/Eternity.”

Because I Could Not Stop for Death Analysis Literary Devices

Dickinson uses many literary devices in ‘Because I could not stop for Death.’ These consist of personification, alliteration, enjambment, and allusion. The first and most evident abstract gadget is the personification of “Death.” Personification gives human attributes to non-human things. Death isn’t an individual; it has no character. In this poem, nonetheless, it is talked about all things considered; for instance, it drives and isn’t just a condition.

Another gadget utilized is alliteration. This is the repetition of a similar consonant sound found toward the start of a gathering of words. Note the poet’s utilization of “labor” and “leisure;” Recess” and “Ring;” “Gazing Grain;” “Setting Sun;” “Gossamer” and “Gown; and “Tippet” and “Tulle.”

Another significant procedure usually utilized in verse is enjambment. It happens when a line is cut off before its normal halting point. Enjambment powers a reader down to the following line, and the following, rapidly. One needs to push ahead to resolve an expression or sentence easily. For instance, the progress between lines three and four of the principal verse and two and three of the second.

An allusion is an articulation that is intended to bring something explicit to mind without straightforwardly expressing it. Even though it isn’t unmistakably expressed in this poem’s lines, obviously, the speaker should be in the great beyond, likely the Christian idea of paradise.

Death Analysis of All Stanzas

Stanza One

“Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves.
And Immortality”

In ‘Because I could not stop for Death.’, the author personifies death and portrays him as a good friend or a gentleman suitor. She discloses that she welcomes death when she says, “he kindly stopped for me.” The pleasing tone of the poem suggests that the author is very comfortable with death.

Stanza Two

“We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility”

The carriage ride is representative of the poet’s takeoff from life. She is in the conveyance with death and everlasting status.

She uncovers her readiness to go with death when she says that she had “put away… labor and… leisure too for his civility”. This further uncovers that the creator has grappled with her own mortality. She has put down all she needed to do throughout everyday life and enthusiastically entered the carriage with Death and Immortality.

She might know that had she not gone energetically, they would have taken her hostage in any case, yet this doesn’t appear to adjust her impression of the two characters as kind, smart, and even delicate. This is depicted as Death drives gradually for her, permitting her to think back. He “knew no flurry” as they drove. He takes her through the journey of her existence with a lethargic and patient ride. Eternality rides along yet are quiet.

Stanza Three

“We passed the school, where Children strove.
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.”

They drive past the school where the children strove, inferring that the creator is liberally given a couple of seconds to recall her youth. They, at that point, drive past the “grazing grain,” permitting the creator to recollect upon the prime of her life. At that point, they pass the setting sun. This represents the creator’s passing. The dusk is lovely and delicate, and the passing from life to forever is depicted in that capacity.

Stanza Four

“Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle”

There is an unexpected change in tone in the fourth stanza. Unexpectedly, since the sun has set, the author understands that she is freezing and shudders. At that point, she becomes mindful that she is underdressed. Before this stanza of acknowledgment, the author felt very alright with Death and Immortality.

All things considered, she was riding alongside them in just her “gossamer” and her “tippet only tulle”, or in just a sheer robe. In the first to third stanzas, the author is on a close tender footing with Death and Immortality. Portraying Death as a nobleman admirer who is caring and common, she shows no disgrace at being underdressed. Notwithstanding, when the sun sets and the virus moist sets in, she gets mindful of her unseemly clothing.

Stanza Five

“We paused before a house that seemed.
A Swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound

In her moment of acknowledgment that she has been allured by Death, they stop before her new “home”, a “swelling of the ground”. She asserts “the rooftop was scarcely visible” and the “cornice but a mound”. The tone gets one of dissatisfaction, as the author understands that passing isn’t all she figured it would be.

Presently, as the sun has set on her life, and she remains before her new permanent spot to settle down, frustration sets in. Death was caring and delicate, similar to a respectable man admirer. He tricked her in with bombastic guarantees of eternity. Since she sees her little, sodden, interminable home, she feels cheated.

Stanza Six

“Since then ’tis centuries, and yet each.
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads.
Were toward eternity.”

It has been hundreds of years from that moment of acknowledgment when she “first surmised” that Death had tempted her, that he had seemed a generous nobleman from the outset, however, had let her be uninformed, cold, clammy grave.

Because I Could Not Stop for Death

Because I Could Not Stop for Death Analysis Historical Context

Because I could not stop for Death’ was distributed in 1863 and accepted to be composed somewhere in the range of 1855 and 1863 (The Dickinson Properties). These are the years wherein Emily Dickinson composed most seriously. During Dickinson’s initial years, she encountered the passing of numerous individuals near her, including that of her cousin.

It is not difficult to discern any reason why she felt acquainted with death. Dickinson likewise lived close to a burial ground, so she watched numerous individuals, even friends, and family riding in a funeral wagon to their last resting places. This is a feasible motivation for the setting of this poem.

Dickinson seems to have played with trusting in the hereafter in heaven, yet at the end guaranteed that she was “one of the waiting terrible ones”, which proposes that she needed to have faith in post-existence in heaven, yet proved unable. Eventually, she accepted the grave was her last resting place (The Dickinson Properties).

Poetry’s Similar to Because I Could Not Stop for Death Analysis

Dickinson’s Because I could not stop for Death’ is one of the most popular poems about the afterlife and death. However, there are many more that are worth reading. Some other very famous poems with the original depiction of death are:

  • ‘When Death Comes’ by Mary Oliver
  • ‘I have a Rendezvous with Death’ written by Alan Seeger
  • ‘Death Shall Have No Dominion’ written by Dylan Thomas
  • ‘The Afterlife’ by Billy Collin

What does because I could not stop for death summary?

“Because I could not stop for death” is an exploration of both the inevitability of death and the uncertainties that surround what happens when people actually die. In the poem, a woman takes a ride with a personified “Death” in his carriage, by all likelihood heading towards her place in the afterlife.

What is Emily Dickinson saying in because I could not stop for death?

‘Because I could not stop for Death’ by Emily Dickinson depicts a speaker’s perception of death, the afterlife, and the journey it takes to get there. In the first lines of the poem, the speaker uses the famous line “Because I could not stop for Death,/ He kindly stopped for me”.

How is death presented in because I could not stop for death?

In Emily Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop for Death,” the author meets Death personified in the form of a gentleman. He arrives in a carriage with Immortality to take the author to her grave. … Indeed, the very last stanza demonstrates that Dickinson regards death as eternity, rather than a final end.