The Analysis of the Poem "Because I Cannot Stop for Death" by Emily Dickinson

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In stanzas 1-3 the character understands the situations that she is in at the moment. The sudden shift in tone in the fourth stanza enables us to examine how Emily Dickinson describes the comfortableness and closeness of the character of the poem, as she is seemed in speaking and interacting with this person “Death” that has taken her in his carriage. Consequently the poem develops from calm and peaceful attitude (“We passed the fields of gazing grain. We passed the setting sun.”) towards a more serious and cold tone (“Or rather he passed us; The dews grew quivering and chill, For only my gossamer my gown.”) Now the character of the poem becomes fully aware of her situation.

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Suddenly, now that the sun has set, the author realizes that she is quite cold, and she shivers, the atmosphere abruptly becomes darker Moreover, another shift can be seen and occurs in stanza 6, in the last 4 lines “Since then – ‘tis Centuries – and yet Feels shorter than the Day/ I first surmised the Horses’ Heads/ Were toward Eternity –” The previous attitude that seem frightening and dark switches to startling and unforeseen awareness as the character now realizes that a century has passed but in her perspective it felt as if it was shorter than a day.

This assists the protagonist to now become aware of now that all that she had encountered while being lifeless it has been a century since her passing, as if the speaker realizes that she isn’t just on a ride, but rather riding towards the eternity and, consequently, her own death. The title, “Because I Cannot Stop For Death” provides us insight that the poem was about how even though the protagonist knows the fate that will eventually come in the future, they do realize that death cannot be stopped.

As taking all prospects into play, the title states “Because I could not stop for death,” plays a significant role in defining how she cannot be immortal and “Death” is leading her into the afterlife. We additionally now understand through by the title, “Because I Cannot Stop For death”, the poem’s idea is to be about Death, particularly based upon someone accepting their predetermined fate of Death and knowing that you can never escape the reality that everyone will likewise succumb to a peaceful passing as this is all part of the cycle of life and nature without a hint of regret, basically a life story.


The character in this poem “Death” in the form of a person, pauses to pick up the speaker and takes her on an adventure throughout her life to immortality. Immortality is described as the other passenger in the carriage that intends to transport them to an eternity of death. Throughout the journey, she is forced to give up two pleasures in life which are labor and leisure. Without these two aspects, one may realize that leisure and labor are the true values in life. They move along at a pretty relaxed pace and the speaker seems completely at ease with the gentleman. As they pass through the town, she sees children at play, fields of grain, and the setting sun. Reminiscing her about her childhood and the life she had dearly spent.

Specifically meaning how the children represent her, experiencing through the cycle of life, the grazing grass symbolizing the imagery of the protagonist’s adulthood, the setting sun giving a representation of death, all of this is utilized to give a story of a natural process of existence/life. This part of the poem makes the narrator reflect in their inner thoughts on their own passing and the journey that they would undergo in order to reach the eternity. Suddenly a shift occurs and at all once the atmosphere changes into a dark and frigid domain, it gets pitch black as the sun sets in the distance. Subsequently, they then arrive at the area of the burial of the character that Emily Dickinson describes as a home and perceive it as an eternal resting place after the encounters the protagonist has experienced throughout her death.


Death, Immortality, Eternity, Adventure of life and death Theme: There are two opposite themes that occupy this piece of poetry, Mortality and Immortality. There are multiple pieces of evidence of themes of Mortality and Immortality that are evident throughout the poem. The narrator’s entire outlook on death and the mentioning of “Immortality” in the first stanza (Because I could not stop for Death – He kindly stopped for me – The Carriage held but just Ourselves – And Immortality.) leads to the idea that she believes that there is an afterlife and there could be so much more in the spiritual world, adventures, and sights to discover.

Immortality described in this poem is sort of an everlasting life, though not in the sense that most people desire, in consideration that most people wouldn’t want to live in afterlife forever and put behind their past life for a new world. In the last stanza, Emily Dickinson utilizes the word “Eternity” to depict what she has just come to understand. She remains calm and has a ponderous/curious tone as she recalls the ride she just took after realizing that she is actually deceased/dead. In conclusion, although Death many signify the end of one’s life, nevertheless it can be furthermore be linked or indicated to immortality.

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