Emily Dickinson 's `` Because I Could Not Stop For Death `` Essay

1148 Words Nov 20th, 2015 5 Pages
Emily Dickinson is one of the most famous American poets, well known for her strange use of punctuation, the widespread assumption that she had agoraphobia, and her poems about death and immortality. Her fear of going outside combined with the countless number of deceased she faced in her own life contributed to her poetry significantly. Her poem, “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”, however, takes on a different facade and forces readers to think more appreciatively on the topic. In the poem, the speaker is taken on a ride by a gentlemanly suitor, Death, and visits her past until finally reaching her ultimate demise. Although she faced many deaths of family and friends throughout her own life, Emily Dickinson shines a pleasant light on death in “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” to show that death is not as gruesome as it is typically perceived.
Dickinson portrays Death as a gentlemanly suitor in the poem. He’s gentlemanly enough to even bring a carriage for the ride. Dickinson writes “...The carriage held but just ourselves…” (97). Tate writes that Death is “a gentleman taking a lady out for a drive”. He is not taking her away forcefully like the Grim Reaper, but rather a kind man slowly driving her away into peaceful oblivion. This portrayal of a regal man attempts to clear away the typical visions of death that involve skulls and scythes. Harvey and Johnson note that the way Dickinson shows death gives him a familiar quality, like he was an Amherst gentleman she once…

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