Death And Emily Dickinson Essay

1739 words - 7 pages

“Death, the end of life: the time when someone or something dies” (Merriam-Webster, 2014). The definition of death is quite simple, the end of life is inescapable. I chose to write about death and impermanence because it is something we all must inevitably face. People often deal with death in a number of different ways. Although it is something that we must eventually face, it can be hard to come to terms with because the idea can be hard to grasp. Some of us fear it, others are able to accept it, either way we all must eventually face it. In this essay I will look at two different literary works about death and impermanence and compare and contrast the different elements of the point of view, theme, setting, and symbolism. The comparison of these particular works will offer a deeper look into words written by the authors and the feelings that they experiencing at that particular time.

One primary element of death is the experience of dying. Many of of us are scared of the thought of death. When we stop and think about what death will be like, we wonder what it will feel like, will it be painful, will it be scary? In Emily Dickinson's poem Because I Could Not Stop for Death, she focuses on what the journey into her afterlife will be like. Dickinson uses the first person narrative to tell her encounter with death. The form that she uses throughout the poem helps to convey her message. The poem is written in five quatrains. Each stanza written in a quatrain is written so that the poem is easy to read. The first two lines of the poem, “Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me;” (Clugston 2010), gives you a clear view of what the poems central theme is. Unlike most poems that are about death, Dickinson's attitude towards death seems to be serene and accepting, conveying the attitude that death or dying should not be feared. These lines show that death is inescapable, and everyone must face it one day. The way Dickinson personifies death in the poem makes him out to be a gentleman and civilized instead of the terrifying experience we usually associate it with. In the second stanza we are told that Death is not in a hurry to take away the speakers life. Dickinson says, “we slowly drove, he knew no haste” (Clugston 2010). Although you would expect the tone to be somber since the speaker knows that death is taking her away, it appears that both the speaker and Death are enjoying, or rather content with taking their time on this final journey.
Moving into the third part of the poem Dickinson writes that the speaker and Death pass by a school, the fields of grain, and the setting sun. All of these are symbols that represent different stages of the speakers life. The children and the school are a representation of the speaker's childhood. The fields of the gazing grain represents adulthood, and the setting sun is a representation of old age. Entering into the fourth stanza, the tone changes from warm to cold. This change occurs...

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