“Because I do not stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson
“BecauseI do not stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson
Mostof the living organisms are aware and cognizant of death, but perhapsit is only the human beings who are fully aware of the personalinevitability of this catastrophe. Human beings are creatures whosefate not only lies in the grave but live with the agonizing truth ofthe certainty of death. Emily Dickson`s "Because I could notstop for Death" aptly demystifies the mysteriousness of deathwith its meanings, purpose, and significance and the author quiteunlikely, writes with no fear towards death since death and drives anindividual with care and has a formal politeness.
Theauthor transforms the female “victim” into a willing and ardentlover of death into an avid participant in the mystery of transitionfrom life to death, and subsequently from human measured time toeternity. She is busy to stop for death, and it is her who takes theinitiative. She does not resist the carriage by death into eternity.According to the speaker, carrying away by death is not an act ofpoliteness, but rather “civility.” She responds in mannerisms,putting away her leisure and labour, generally her whole life. Itthis momentous journey that draws her powerfully and it is what shereports with scrupulous details. This poem stands as her vehicle andcarriage for exploring details that obsessed her imaginations.
Theauthor brings in another passenger, “immortality,” who guaranteesan honourable and favourable outcome. Immortality is a presentpromise while eternity, in the final stanza, is the pointadvancement. The author represents eternity as the final destinationof time towards where the poem moves. In the stanza 1, the worldlyaffairs catch up with the speaker and have no time at all for death.However, he chooses to slow down. In stanza 2, she has adjusted herspeed and pace to his. The transition in stanza 3, the authorrepetitively used, “We passed” showing a situation where they aremoving in unison past the divisions of human life- childhood,maturity and old age. The carriage is stately and steads through thestages of life flashing before the eyes of death.
Thepoem runs with one singular theme to the end. Every paragraph carrieswith it the main idea of death supporting with it with the encountersalong the carriage process. My thesis is true and supported by thesestanzas from the first one to the last. They all demystify thecarriage process as she is transported and further transformed fromlimited human time to eternity through passionate and loving death.However, the first line of stanza 4, the precise temporal orientationdisappears. The carriage in the poem swerves off to an unexpectedoblivion. If the carriage had passed the time for sunset, in itsdirection beyond the precincts of the earth, it would have beenclear. However, the line, “Or rather,” “He passed Us”indicate the absence of a clear sense of the movement of the carriageand its subsequent direction.
Itis represented as if the passengers and the carnage are frozen intime. The sun has now abandoned the transport as indicated in theincreased coldness enveloping the speaker. However, it occurs to herthat she is inadequately dressed up for the occasion, in “Gossamer,”that either gives the meaning of a filmy piece of sheer, delicate andweak material. She also puts on a “Tippet,” a small collar.Conventionally, “Tippets” are commonly kneaded with fur and othersubstantial materials this one is made of ‘tulle,` and silkmaterials used for women gowns. Suddenly, the situation has changed,and the serene observing the speaker is susceptible physicalpresence, clad up for the ball, but “quivering” with the coldconditions that imply the chillness of the graveyard. Moreover, itrepresents a note of disorientation and uneasiness, that then growsstronger from this point on, injected into what started as aself-assured safe and journey worth longing for.
Innormal circumstances, fear is associated with thoughts on deathincluding the mortality fear, the fear of death and even of whatcomes after that. Death throughout the poem is not indicated in aconventional way as either a reward for punishment. There is noemphasis on death`s gruesomeness, ugliness, and or pain. The authormakes no stated threats or even implied, and the personified death isan oddly abstract, a colourless figure not described in any eeriedetail. His absence of colour is entirely appropriate about his role.He remains throughout the poem, the extinct of personality.
Thisliterary focusses less on Death the personified, the metamorphicfigure than on the journey end and the speaker undertakes. Dickinsondepicts death as a steady and slow movement from the familiar androutine and in an organized stanza 3, this emphasis on the journey asdeath and speaker go through life grows conspicuous. Dickinson usesrepetition of the words especially at the beginning of lines todenote emphasis of the movement through time and in particularthrough space. These repetitions include, "We passed…","We passed…", And "We passed…" in lines 9,11-12 (Dickinson2015, p12). These mark the movements of both the poem and movement,but at the same time, they reinforce slow progression. Since it is ajust towards the ultimate end, death, it requires little or no hastyrushing.
Thelady passenger gets the chance to comment and notice the on theneglects and sights to protest at all. She recognizes "theschool, where the children strove." Also, she recognizes the"the Fields of Gazing Gain" (Line 11) (Dickinson2015, p11). It is commonplace to associate all these details with thedifferent human stages of life. The children here symbolize thecarefree life of the young the "Gazing Grain" depicts themaximum physical maturity. On the other hand, the "the SettingSun" symbolizes onset of old age. The underlying interpretationis a persuasive one, and the stanza also is organized not onlyrepresenting a movement away from a town that is populated andtowards a densely populated town, but also progress towards latertime in the day.
Thenormal sense progression and steady flow are disrupted at thebeginning of the fourth stanza. The speaker abruptly accepts that itis not Death, and Immortality who "passed the Setting Sun"(Line 12) "rather, He passed Us." The perspective shiftaccompanies the change in imagery. The focus changes and is no longeron the external scenery details but the speaker`s discomfort.
Thereis also the final stanza. It begins with. "Since then,"(Line 21) (Dickinson2015, p.56). It is not clear when the term "then" refers.Does this mean the pose in the final resting place, grave? Or in itsplace does it refer to the beginning of the encounter with Death?Does it mean the speaker is already dead and he is speaking duringthe in the graveyard? The speaker says it is centuries (Line 22)(Dickinson2015, p66) and brings it about centuries and in this case, is itmetamorphic or literal? Is the time reference precise or wildlyexaggerated? Usually and conventionally from the beginning, the poemraises very many questions than it gives the answers to thequestions. In conclusion, the speaker finishes by saying she"surmised" and that the "Horses Heads/Were towardEternity" (Line23-24) (Dickinson2015, p46), but this avowal is at least as bewildering as any otherthing in the poem.
Inthe same breath, does the statement imply she has already reached thedestination or she is still in that direction? And according to thespeaker and Dickinson`s (Dickinson2015, p34), what does this "Eternity" imply? Is it the sameas "Immortality" or they are distinctly different? Is it acomforting prospect for humanity or it should be something troublingand catastrophic for? Does the use of the word "surmised"imply the strong degree of certainty or it merely denotes aconjecture? The use of these concluding statements would indeedportray a different message if Dickinson used words like "realized"rather the implication that comes with words like "surmised."
Inthe final stages of open-ended ambiguity, she leaves the reader to"surmise" for they answer to the gruelling questions likethe final fate of the speaker and subsequently the last tone of thepoem. Should the reader find the poem disturbing or consoling? Shouldthe reader question or trust the response of the speaker to herexperience throughout the poem? What precisely is the experience inthe poem? Is she dead at the end of the poem or still alive? It isdoes not come out very clear the end game of this poem on the issueof the afterlife. The poet on the other hand, does not come outclearly and directly to the reader to communicate the end game. Thereader should deduce and make conclusions on the poet’s theme ofeternity and passion for death.
Therefore,the poem comes to a halt with the use of the word "Eternity."The decision to end with the word suggest an endlessness in the lastnumerous series of paradoxes that are typical of the entire literary.The poem indeed is inscrutable. The poem is about the speaker`s deathreferences to the children who are playing and the "GazingGrain" that represents the larger cycle of how things will go.The poem journeys through time and space to describe the annihilationand destruction of both. The poem describes the grave as almostwelcoming, and it is a lyric in which the speaker`s final place isleft in doubt.
Consequently,it is a poem that at once seems personal, though addresses the sharedexperiences that the living things endure. Yes, it is not a poem thatmakes mundane issues, that can quickly forget, but rather itaddresses and stirs up the deepest curiosity and thoughts. Dickinsondrives the theme of death as the central theme to the end. He doesnot offer the easy, and clear consolations or certainties readersmostly readers seek from poets. She does not mention God nor givesthe clear sense of an afterlife. The poem forcefully implies theexistence and presence of an "Immortality" and "Eternity,"with an unclear characteristic spelled out.
Dickinson,Emily, and Media, Mango. 2015. EmilyDickinson`s Poems.Granadilla Pr.
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