Comparing The Theme Of Death In Emily Dickinson's Mid-Term Break

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The poets Heaney and Dickinson both present an image of death through the use of a first-person perspective in the poems “Mid-Term Break”, and “Because I Could Not Stop For Death”. Although both use a narrative style, they create a contrasting impression of death, with one portraying cruelty and suddenness, while the other is calming, polite and an inevitable part of life. In “Mid-Term Break”, a range of techniques such as strong symbolic images, the feeling of isolation, and a detached manner is used to convey death and grief, evoking sympathy from the reader. Contrastingly, death is presented as gentlemanly through the use of various techniques, including a retrospective and narrative style.

Through the use of contrasts between expectations and reality, “Mid-Term Break” portrays death as cruel and sudden.
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The iambic meter used through out the poem sets a slow, unhurried pace, which reflects the journey that the persona takes, and creates a calming sense around the character of death. Dickinson’s use of hyphens also results in a sense that the lines are being carried on, with no definite pauses or stops. Combined with the uniform quatrains, the slow pace of the poem, and no sudden or quick changes within the poem, death is given a calming persona. The use of the adverb “kindly” and the noun “Civility” give the impression that death is gentlemanly and polite. Capital letters are used for all the nouns as well, giving them the importance of places or people, which is what capital letters are often used for. In turn, this makes it seem as though each of the nouns have their own personalities and are all guiding the persona to death, making death itself seem soothing, compassionate, and comforting. Dickinson implies that death should be welcomed and accepted, instead of being feared or dreaded. The journey to death itself is also relieving rather than

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