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Because I Couldn't Stop for Death by Emily Dickinson: Death and Eternity

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Emily Dickinson was one of the greatest poets of the 19th century. However, her unique theme especially Death and Eternity brings her a special position and separates her from the contemporary writers.

“Because I Could Not Stop for Death” consists of the same kind of theme and it was published after her death. Whether the poem is complete or not is under the discussion of literary critics. But, many of the critics of the then time had praised this poem and called it a masterpiece.

Summary: Before starting the poem’s discussion, one thing to be noted that here Death is personified and also Immortality. It clearly indicates that in this poem we find Death and Immorality as living persons.

In the first stanza, the poet is found very busy that she doesn’t have any time to care about death. For this reason, Death has shown his kindness and stops his carriage beside her. Here Death is the pilot of the carriage and no one is in the carriage except Immortality.

In the next stanza, the poet leaves all her tasks and puts her labor and leisure towards the journey. Then, they slowly drive without any haste. The Civility of Death is also praised by the poet in this stanza.

Thereafter, going along the way, they passed the school (a school is particularly known to the poet) where the children were found playing in the schoolyard at lunch break. Then, they passed the fields where the Grains have gazed. Sometimes after, they passed the Sun who was setting away.

In the next stanza, she is found doubtful about the passing of the Sun. She thought the sun passed them. After that, we found the description of the changing weather, a dry clean to a cold one. In her language, “The Dews drew quivering and chill” Now, she felt cold as she wore a light dress. Here, one thing can be interpreted that passing of the Sun can suggest the passing of the Summer or Autumn and the arrival of Winter. Whatsoever it is, we should leave this matter to the critics.

Finally, they reached before a house in the fifth stanza. There she found swelling of the ground and the cornice of that house was in the ground.

In the final stanza, she clears all the doubts for us. She says that it was a past journey of her life and now it is centuries after that. Now, she feels everyday very short. Probably, she is stating that she is at her funeral now. The last line, of the poem, consists, “ I first surmised the Horses’ Heads were toward Eternity.” Then the poem comes to an end. 

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Because I Couldn’t Stop For Death By Emily Dickinson: Death And Eternity. (2021, May 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from
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