Theme Of Because I Could Not Stop For Death And Mid Term Break

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In both ‘Because I Could Not Stop For Death’ and ‘Mid term Break’, Dickinson and Hearney present to us the themes of death and relationships. In this essay, I will explore these themes through looking at the word choice, literary devices and the tone of each of the poems.

First of all, in ‘Because I could not stop for death’, Dickinson personifies “Death” as a welcoming and kind person who is taking her on this ‘journey’ from life to afterlife. In the first stanza, the word “kindly” is used to juxtapose with “death”. Usually, Death is personified as a evil and scary character. In this poem however, Death is personified as a courteous and gentle guide, that is bringing her on this voyage towards “eternity”. This is shown all through the poem,
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Usually, writers would use words such as ‘tolling’ or ‘chiming’, however “knelling” has connotations to death as bells often knell at funerals. The writer also uses sounds such as “hard blow” and “laughing” to represent normality before he goes into his house, where people there are mourning his brother’s death. From the third stanza onwards, the sounds are quiet, like “whispers” and “angry tearless sighs”. This symbolises a loss of energy or breathlessness after having to think about what happened go his brother.

In Dickinson’s poem, there is an extended metaphor as the journey to death with “Death”, is symbolised by her journey in the carriage. Because carriages are usually connected with royalty, this also shows us that Death is of a high status, and is ultimately the one who decides when it is time for someone’s life to end. Near the end of the poem, the narrator remembers the first time she “surmised the Horses Heads”. This ties in with the idea of the literal carriage, that is bringing her on this journey. Also, “Horses Heads” is capitalised to show it’s importance to the underlying meaning of the
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These words allude to the more conventional idea of death, coldness. This represents the fact that the narrator was unprepared for Death as she is wearing thin clothes. It shows that although she wasn’t prepared to die, Death was the one that chose for her to. The use of alliteration, such as “gossamer… gown” and “tippet…tulle” emphasises the different materials, to show that the narrator is cold, like a dead person.

Furthermore, when she “could not stop for death” in the first line, she also says that Death “kindly” takes the time to do what she can’t, and stops for her. This shows us that she isn’t afraid of Death, and just sees it as an act of kindness. The use of the words “could not” suggests that although she tried, she was enjoying life so much that she was unable to. Death was one that had to stop for her, showing us that he has the power to stop someone’s

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