Because I Could Not Stop for Death



From the poem ‘Because I could not stop for Death,’ I think Emily Dickson’s speaker is communicating from the farther side of the grave where she describes her journey with death. In the first stanza ‘because I could not stop for the death”, the speaker appears very busy for the death. Consequently, death stops for her. The fact that death surprisingly steals time from her makes her give up on the things that made her fully engaged, “and I had to put away my labor and my leisure too, for his civility.” In the poem, I think Dickson displays death as a gentleman to make it less feared. She achieves this by bounding death with formal manners making it less powerful and cruel. The author carries down the metaphor throughout and holds death accountable, following courtship rules that a gentleman interested in a lady should follow. The gentleman must involve a third, Immortality, in their ride to ensure the death does everything in moderation as he has sensibility and taste and does not aim at grabbing souls. According to the poem, I think Dickson wants to us to see the value of time and how it passes under different circumstance and with different paces. In the second stanza, death carriage process is said to progress slowly while claiming the speaker’s life displaying the lagging pace in death civility. The adventure around the town that takes place at a slow pace might be the author manner of presenting death as a comfort or just part of life just like other events. As dusk sets in, the speaker is said to get a little chilly since she is entirely underdressed. She is told to be wearing a thin silk shawl for a coat. It shows she was unprepared for the random date with death when she dressed in the morning. Dickson statement about the nature of the physical world could be his intentions to show us how it captures our attention and the way giving out the attention takes more time than the nothingness of eternal life


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People utilize much of their time at work keeping them busy that they tend to forget about their looming death. From the poem, it’s the same case with the speaker though she admits her willingness to put aside her distractions from the mortal world and allows death to take her away. It might have been fueled by the fact that she found him surprisingly handsome. The speaker comments on his formal politeness “civility.” She seems much moved by his kind behaviors.

Life is a cycle where we hope for eternity with the maker after death. In the poem, life is displayed as a cycle that frames to the grave but does not fire us out into endless eternity but instead brings us back to our origin. In the poem, the children playing in a ring symbolizes an endless circle and the fact that one views the children to be stretching their strengths shows that the speaker has to go back to her origin. However, some great moments of life appear longer than they are while moments of greater revelation seem to take forever. In the last stanza, the speaker’s journey with the death took place a long time ago though it appeared just like yesterday upon getting the feeling that the horses pointed toward eternity.


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