Emily Dickinson used to write poems with themes of despair and immortality as evident from critical analysis of her poem Because I could not stop for Death. In this poem, she personifies death. She portrays it as she has met it. She assigns some roles to death in this poem. Although she writes poems with a blend of realism, yet the poem does not seem real from any stretch of imagination. It seems purely a dream of the poet that she sees, which at the end becomes a nightmare.
Apart from it, she assigns another role to immortality. She creates a character from it. She expresses her opinions about death in a way that it seems to us that she really met it. No sign of fear is there on Emily Dickinson face nor is it obvious from analysis of her poem “Because I could not Stop for Death”. She, like a queen, goes with death on a chariot. Nowhere in the poem the readers realize that the poet considers death as wicked and brutal; in fact, it is not wrong to say that she loves a ride with death until the last stanza.
Because I could not Stop for Death by Emily Dickinson Analysis
The poem has no title. In fact, it is one of the major ingredients of Emily Dickinson’s poetry that she writes poems without any title, hence, the first line of the poem becomes its title. She wrote this poem to show the readers that death is not always dreadful for everyone. It is certain; therefore, instead of fleeing away from death because of its fear one should face it. This poem also shares the themes of “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died“. With respect to themes, it is opposite to “Hope is the thing with Feathers”. It has six stanzas and each stanza contains four lines.
The poet starts her poem with the word “Because”. She gives the reason for not denying to go with the death. She further elaborates that death never forced her instead he (death) kindly stopped for her. From analysis of the very first stanza of “Because I could not Stop for Death”, it is obvious that there are two persons on the chariot who are going with death and among them one is Emily Dickinson herself whereas second is immortality. Mood of the poem seems very confident in this stanza; however, it seems that she gives a reason for not afraiding of death.
Thus, the poem seems to be an explanation of the poet. She tells her experience with death in a polite manner. First stanza of the poem shows the two obvious themes; death and immortality. Nonetheless, the journey that she represents in this poem is a journey from mortality to immortality.
The poet sheds light on the position of every single person who faces death. Everyone in this world has responsibilities but no one realizes that death is slowly approaching him. There is also another analysis of the first line of this stanza of “Because I could not Stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson. When a person dies it seems that he dies suddenly but the poet has different opinions regarding this matter. She says that death very politely and slowly approaches a person and takes him/her to the afterlife like a gentle host takes his guest.
She further shows the dilemma of this life. When a person meets death, he leaves all pending tasks and responsibilities behind and becomes ready to go with death. The poet simply presents a phenomena of life that “labor” and “leisure” have to be left when death approaches a person. At the end of this stanza, the poet denies the dogma that a person leaves everything behind and goes with the death because death forces him to do so. She has other opinions regarding this matter. She is of the considered view that a person leaves everything because of politeness and courtesy of death.
It is very shocking for the readers that the poet presents an unbelievable concept. Only two types of persons can have this type of concept; firstly, the people who strongly believe in the afterlife; secondly, the one who does not want to face the harsh attitude of life. Autobiography of the poet reveals that she falls in the category of the second group, who do not want to live anymore in this cruel world.
Stanza-III Analysis of “Because I could not Stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson
It increases the interest of the readers that although the poet talks about death she is much more relaxed while talking about it. She is going to enter the afterlife but surprisingly she is not worried at all. Analysis of this stanza shows that Emily Dickinson tells her readers about her feelings when she could not stop continuing her journey to the afterlife with death and immortality.
Perhaps, she talks about her own life in this stanza as there is always a blend of individualism in poetry. It seems that she thinks about days of her life when she was once at school. If this is not the case then the poet must be talking about the school life that she experiences when she passes nearby.
In the first two lines of this stanza, the poet wants his readers’ attention; the word “strove” symbolically shows that every person in this world puts efforts to gain something in life like the children do in schools; school here refers the world and children symbolizes for every person spending his/her days of life. World is like the “Fields of Gazing Grain”, hence, no one wants to leave it. “Setting Sun” means the end of the poet’s life as she has nearly entered the immortal world.
Emily Dickinson beautifully uses the technique of symbolism to elucidate a natural principle analysis of which is that the poet gives a reason why she could not stop for death. She uses dashes more than any other punctuation mark. It is another characteristic of her poetry that she uses dashes in her poems. Nonetheless, in the last line of this stanza she makes use of a poetic device i.e. alliteration as evident from “Setting Sun”.
It is the continuation of the last stanza. The poet seems confused. She is not sure whether she is passing the objects that she mentions in previous stanza or vice versa. It is also a symbol that humans do not realize whether they are spending life or they are controlled by a mysterious force. Here, if we make analysis of the first line of this stanza with the previous stanza of “Because I could not Stop for Death”, we realize that mysteriousness is one of the key ingredients of Emily Dickinson poetry.
The poet talks about her wearings. She appreciates the beauty of her clothes, analysis of which is that the world is entirely fascinating for everyone but after death it has no value as happens in the life of the poet Emily Dickinson. It is also apparent from the last lines of the poem that the dress about which she talks has been taken from her and she has to move to the next world without her clothes. It also strengthens the belief of every person that no one takes anything with him when he leaves the world; not even the last worn clothes.
“We paused before a house”; it is not clear to the readers that she talks about the coffin or the grave. “Paused” here means stopped for a while, so, there are more chances that she talks about the coffin. One thing is clear that death remains successful in seducing the poet. She reaches there where every human has to reach one day.
On the other hand, if we do analysis of this stanza after reading the last stanza of “Because I could not Stop for Death”, we realize that Emily Dickinson does not talk about the coffin but about the grave. From the detailed description of every object of this poem, readers may realize this fact. Mood of the poet in these lines seems very much disappointing. It appears that someone has cheated her.
This stanza is entirely opposite to the first stanza of this poem. She was very much confident when death promised her eternal life. Now she realizes that the story that death has told her was fabricated. She is in a small room which we may assume is her grave.
Stanza-VI Analysis of “Because I could not Stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson
The poem ends with a regret. She feels guilty as she supposes that life of eternity would be better than worldly life without having evidence to confirm it. The author further talks about the time that has passed since she is there in the grave yet immortality has not given her any relief. She has been evaded by the death; therefore, there is a sign of regression on behalf of the poet in the last stanza of the poem.
In the first four stanzas, the poet was very confident about the story that death has told her, in which the poet describes death as a gentle and kind creature but at the end she realizes that everything was a lie as immortal life never suits her needs.