Poetry Analysis example

Emily Dickinson’s Poem ” Because I could not stop for death”

(Introduction) Death is often portrayed as menacing in many works of literary. In Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”, she provides a different perspective. Through the use of descriptive language, Dickinson portrays death as a nonthreatening and peaceful experience and conveys one must accept death as part of his or her destiny (central idea).

( Body 1) From the very beginning of the poem, Dickinson uses descriptive language to portray death a safe and lonely but dignified experience (claim 1). She begins by introducing “ Death” to her reader as kind and civil as illustrated in “ kindly stopped for me” and” his Civility”. Even though the speaker cannot stop Death from coming, she regards the act of Death as “kind” and dignified because He is taking her in a “carriage”. Dickinson continues to describe death as solemn and dignified as illustrated in the way Death drives, “slowly”, “ no haste” and “ his Civility”( point 1) .On the other hand, the speaker also finds the journey to be lonely since there are only themselves ( she and death) as illustrated in “ the carriage held but just ourselves”. The adverb “just” suggest slight trepidation of taking the ride alone with death himself and remorse that there is no other passage riding with her to accompany her( point 2). The silence and dignity felt by the speaker during the lonely ride with death reveals dying is essentially a dignified life experience and one has to experience it alone.

( Body 2) As Dickinson continue describing the speaker’s journey to death,  she further reveals that death can give a sense of tranquility and peace if one regards it as part of one’s destiny( claim 2) . The speaker, while sitting in the carriage, sees her life pass by her through the descriptions such as “children strove”, “fields of gazing grain” and “the setting sun” suggesting her childhood, maturity and the near end of her life. Dickinson’s portrayal of death as “ gossamer” appearance and the speaker as “ tulle” reveals death is an intangible experience, magical and hard to grasp but soothing since both “ gossamer” and “ tulle” connote translucent, soft and silky. Finally Dickinson portrays the tomb the speaker sees as “a House that seems a swelling of the ground”. To compare tomb to a house, the poet seems to regard death as going home experience- safe, tranquil and peaceful. The speaker’s serenity as she reaches her final destination connotes the idea that death is everyone’s final destiny, thus no surprises and no pain but acceptance.

( Conclusion) Through the use descriptive language, Dickinson reveal death is part of life experiences and there is no need to fear it. Even though no one is going to seek death, death will eventually find everyone, but treat him/her with dignity. Therefore, death is not that strange but should feel like going home- the end of one’s life journey.



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