Stop for Death by Emily Dickinson the Term Paper

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Stop for Death by Emily Dickinson

The Poem Because I Could Not Stop For Death by Emily Dickinson is both morose and whimsical. Making light of the speed at which people live their lives Dickinson thanks Death for think of taking the time to stop and pick her up by the side of the road. The whimsical language of the opening stanza;

Because I could not stop for Death

He kindly stopped for me

The Carriage held but just Ourselves

And Immortality


Gives the impression that the weight of the images of death and immortality is trivial at best. The whimsy continues as Dickinson describes the proverbial life flashing before her eyes as the landscape passes the carriage without haste. As can be seen from a critical analysis of the language of the piece, Dickinson whimsically plays with the heady issues of Death, Immorality and Eternity as if they encompass no real care at all.

Though images of death require the average person to imagine darkness, mystery and fear, images like those invoked by the Dickinson 4th spirit in A Christmas Carol,

THE Phantom slowly, gravely, silently approached. When it came near him, Scrooge bent down upon his knee; for in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery.

It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. But for this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night, and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded.

(Dickens 103)

The stereotyped image of the skeletal robes specter is the dominant heady idea of what death is and what it means. Yet, Dickinson describes a conveniently civil character that is doing her a favor and expediting her need to die. "And I had put away, My labor and my leisure too, For his civility."

The image of Immortality is painted as a character or a possibility in the presence of the timeless doorway that is the presence of the congenial Death. Dickinson describes the idea that she will live forever in the company of this easy specter. Dickinson describes the home of her eternity, whether it is her own home in a split…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. London: J.M. Dent & Sons Limited, 1914.

Dickinson, Emily. Because I Could Not Stop For Death,

Gordon, George A. The Witness to Immortality in Literature, Philosophy and Life. Boston:

Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1900.

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