Summary Of Because I Could Not Stop For Death

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Emily Dickinson is unquestionably one of the most significant, innovative, and renowned American poets. She did not always receive such high praise, however, as most of her fame and honor was obtained long after she died. While she was alive, she lived most of her life isolated from society as a recluse. During this reclusion, however, she wrote almost eighteen hundred poems, and one of these included “Because I could not stop for Death” (Mays 1187). This particular poem is one of her most popular and that is in part because it allows the audience to analyze the topic of death and the struggle to come to grip with one’s own demise. The concept of Death is humanized within this poem. “He” is portrayed as conductor as much as he is a robber of life; which is death itself. Dickinson uses personification and figurative language to show the helpless surrender man faces when met with is in the face of death’s unpredictable timetable.
Dickinson commences the poem with the use of personification in regards to Death. Death’s calling upon the narrator—who is
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She claims that centuries have passed, but all that time still “feels shorter than a day” (1.22). This statement reveals the relativity of time: though hundreds of years have gone by, they are nothing compared to the greatness of her single “wedding day” with Death. The last two lines of “Because I could not stop for Death” show that the woman may not have fully believed in “Eternity” at first. While riding with Death and Immortality in the horse-drawn carriage, she “surmise[s]” (1.23) they are heading for perpetuity. The word surmise does not simply mean “guesses” or “wonders,” but rather “suspects”—the woman had a certain amount of doubt in an afterlife, perhaps initially wondering if there even was any at all. Now she knows that there is someplace that exists even after the place she is currently sharing with

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