Comparison Of Emily Dickinson's Attitude Towards Death

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Attitude towards Death in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry Emily Dickinson was a poet born in Massachusetts. Her works were all published posthumously as while she wrote poetry, she did not publish any of her own works. Included in these works are the poems “Because I could not stop for Death” and “I felt a Funeral in my Brain”. These two poems encompass Emily’s thoughts towards death and the afterlife. Through the use of alliteration, imagery, and tone, Emily Dickinson presents different attitudes towards death and the afterlife. In the poem “Because I could not stop for Death”, the speaker describes their experience while riding in a carriage with Death. The speaker notices their surroundings as the carriage continues on:
We passed the School,
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They says, “He knew no haste”, implying that the speaker was already familiar with Death. The speaker also states that they “put away… [their] labor and [their] leisure”. The speaker is comfortable enough with Death already that they can rid their worries of work and daily life and instead enjoy the ride. Death is also said to have “Civility”, personifying him further as a nice person. The friendly and familiar tone the speaker takes towards Death shows their acceptance of Death. Dickinson uses a worry-free tone to show that humans do not fear death and rather should accept it as a part of life. On the other hand, in the poem “I felt a Funeral in my Brain”, Dickinson uses a grand and supernatural tone when presenting death and more specifically, the afterlife. After the speaker has passed on, they proceed into the …show more content…
The first two lines establish the feeling of powerlessness in the speaker. The “Heavens” call out like a “Bell” and the speaker is the only one to hear it. The speaker is “but an Ear”, establishing a tone of incompleteness. Taken literally, the speaker is no longer complete and can do nothing but listen to the Heavens. The speaker then presents themselves as “some strange Race”. This in addition to “Silence” captures the isolation after death. If the “Heavens were a Bell” yet the speaker hears “Silence”, this implies that the speaker does not have a Heaven calling for them. Rather they exist in a form of purgatory, in which they are alone. The speaker also no longer considers themselves as human due to the overload of unfamiliar and confusing experience of the afterlife. The phrase “Wrecked, solitary, here” encapsulates the desperation and isolation of the speaker. Dickinson uses the word “Wrecked” to show that the speaker never intended to be here, but appeared here against their will. The word “solitary” simply establishes the speaker being alone in an unknown world. As the speaker has no one with them, they must experience death alone. Finally, Dickinson ends the line with “here” to further add to the tone of isolation and emphasize the speaker’s unawareness. The only description the speaker can provide of their surroundings is “here”, showing that they have no idea

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