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In Walt Witman’s “Leaves of Grass” section 32, he speaks of turning and living with animals. I find his work very intriguing, like reading a good novel, with loads of hidden meaning. He speaks of the animals, by saying they have no worries or emotions. They are; a what you see is what you get, with showing no greed, not having to prove themselves, or bow down to anyone. This caught my attention, and I thought it was a very power point he was trying to show in his poem. Witman’s work for me is easily understandable and doesn’t require a lot of deep reading. This is why I have chosen Emily Dickinson, “Because I could not stop for Death—” her work is very mysterious and quite frankly hard to interpret. I feel as if you need to use deep reading to get a full grasp on the message in her poetry.
In Emily Dickinson’s time there wasn’t many poets, the few famous ones that were known was men. In that era being a woman poet was almost unheard of, women were expected to be cultured, and if anything, just read the poetry. “Education and literary talent was only for the men.” (Emily Dickinson: A Concise Biography .” Films Media Group, 2005, fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=96659&xtid=43964. Accessed 26 Aug. 2018.) I find it intriguing that a handful of Dickinson’s work was ever published while she was alive, and most of her family never knew of her amazing gift/talent she had. For 26 years, she sheltered herself from life itself and rarely seen anyone except for immediate family and friends. This explains why you have to dig deep in her poetry to uncover the mystery behind her work, like decoding a riddle word by word and line by line.
Each of her poems depicts a message and shows how sincere she was while writing her poetry. “Coming from a close knit and highly educated family, her father played a big role in her life. At one point she fell in love with a man, but her father didn’t approve because he felt as if the young man wasn’t good enough for Emily. This left her heartbroken, and I believe this is who she talks about in some of her poems.” Dickinson wanted her work destroyed after her death, but instead it was published, and she became the most famous female poet to exist in my opinion. All of the years withdrawing herself from the public life she developed her own individual voice not troubled by society. She embraced the wonderful world around us in which she lived and based her work off of just that.
This poem I have chosen is one of her most credited work that she done, with some of her most famous lines. When she describes how she could not stop for death, but he kindly stops for me, and how the carriage held but just themselves and immortality. She is speaking of the irony and the kindness of death, that he stops for her. Being so caught up in life, most forget to stop and look around, but in all reality, death will always make time. She is telling a story of the souls’ journey into the afterlife. Time and death have the power to make everything you have seem meaningless once death calls on you. You can’t take your money and belongings to the grave with you. She speaks of slowly driving and putting away her labor and leisure too for his civility. Dickinson in my deep reading of this is that death is civilized and sophisticated, and we the people are the ones who are the vulgar ones. She is saying that we are so caught up in a world trying to make a living and focusing on how much we have, we don’t take time out to realize anything else that is around us.
My favorite part in her poem that caught my attention was her describing passing a school, where children strove. I had to re-read that part multiple times to catch onto the word “strove”. She wasn’t referring the children playing, instead she was focusing on the struggle of the children finding their way through life. There were many parts of this poem that I really liked, but this for some reason stood out to me. The last stanza of her poem talks about how death is an ongoing thing, it is eternity. Being gone and moving on into the afterlife, and time no longer plays a role in freeness. She talks about how the idea of eternity is something that last forever but doesn’t mean it feels like forever. Death is doing us a favor by coming for us and taking us on a ride to eternity. I feel it is revealed the ride with death she is talking about seemed to be centuries ago but in her eyes feels like it’s in present time. We have no control when death will take us, with or without our consent.
Emily wrote many of her poems about death, she seemed fearless of this topic. Most people avoid the subject of death or anything pertaining to it. Dickinson on the other hand had a kind soul, was very empathetic, and had a deep understanding of death. In today’s time reading her poetry, some may say her work for the most part is morbid. If you take a step back and think in her time people died of illness and accidents more rapidly than in today’s era, because the lack of medicine and technology needed to treat diseases and much more. In the poem I chose, Emily writes these thought and feelings that came directly from her heart. We do not have control of everything, death decides when it is coming. Time and death have the final say in how or when our mortal lives will close. Dickinson has a deep understanding of this, and faces it head on instead of fearing death, she seems to patiently wait for her turn.
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