In this poem, Dickinson uses powerful diction to describe the journey from life to death. She personifies death as a man carrying her to the other side. Along the journey, the narrator sees the locations of significant moments that occurred in her life. A famous line in the poem is “Because I could not stop for Death / He kindly stopped for me” (Dickinson 1-2).
In her poem, #465, Emily Dickinson’s speaker allows the reader to experience an ironic reversal of conventional expectation of the moment of death in the mid-1800s, as the speaker finds nothing but an eerie darkness at the end of her life.
On the surface, Emily Dickinson’s poem #605 seems to be an unconvincing declaration of life, but with the appliance of more neglected etymologies the piece describes a journey characterized by growth of self-assurance and inner power. The keyword “alive” gives the poem new breadth when considering the “Of a fire, flame, or spark: burning, not extinguished” definition alongside the standard “having life, living” definition. This etymological application accentuates the text’s reddish, fiery shades which expose the reader to the more enthusiastic and passionate undertones of the text. The incorporation of this alternate meaning reaches the peak of its depth in the final stanza. When placing the new meaning side by side with the standard definition,
To Dickinson, darkness seems to represent the unknown. The focus of this poem is people trying to find their way in the dark, where nothing can be foreseen. Sight is a prevalent theme in Untitled, achieved through words like
In “419,” Dickinson’s darkness is a metaphor for the unknown. Her use of dashes throughout each stanza disrupts their smooth flow and characterizes her narrator, showing the character’s hesitancy when abandoned in the darkness. As the character progresses through the darkness, however, the reader identifies a hopeful and perseverant tone. By expressing that “We uncertain step / For newness of the night,” the narrator shares the feeling of alarming change that is expected to become easier given time.
This poem illustrates traits of aspiration. At the beginning of the poem, Dickinson has a darker tone. She discloses that people adjust to the dark. Literally, our eyes adjust to different shades of light, but also figuratively. What she proposes in lines 7-8, where she says “Then - fit our Vision to the Dark / And meet the Road- erect” (7-8), means that the darkness equals the unknown and the road compares to our future.
Emily Dickinson is a depressed romantic. She falls in love with men she cannot have and her family constantly revised her poems; making them lose their meanings. In “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant” she says “The Truth must dazzle gradually or every man be blind-” (1,7-8). Dickinson has had her heart broken so many times by men and it was always delivered quickly and cruelly. Dickinson might have felt that if it was broken to her more gently and kindly she might not feel this way and feel so blindsided by her unrequited love.
This poem shows the trait of aspiration. At the beginning of the poem, Dickinson has a darker tone. She explains that people adjust to the dark. Literally, our eyes adjust to different shades of light, but also figuratively. What she means in lines 7-8, where she says “Then - fit our Vision to the Dark / And meet the Road- erect” (7-8), is that the darkness is the unknown and the road is our future.
This is why she shows such a fascination towards it. “There is no frigate like a book”, this shows that she found literature as a great escape from life (Dickinson 1). Dickinson’s isolation to the world is further exemplified in, “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” I believe that this poem shows that she believes that she is nobody, and finds no reason to become a “somebody” because it is useless to her (Dickinson).
Emily Dickinson’s Poem 365 begins the first stanza with acknowledging that a “He” exists in silence and hiding. This He can be a possible perception God, as Dickinson him as being silent and in hiding, but still existing. The poem mentions that He has a rare life, a possible inference that God is the only thing in existence of that sort of being. All of these descriptions of the He in the first stanza infer that God is the thing she is contemplating here.
“Success is counted sweetest by those who never succeed.” This statement by Emily Dickinson expresses that you will never truly understand the meaning of success unless you have undergone failure. Emily Dickinson faced adversity throughout her fifty-five years of living as she experiences several losses. Because of this, the main theme in her poems is death as they are filled with constant bereavement however the themes of love, religion and nature are also present.
Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman are the most representative and brilliant poets of the nineteenth century and in the American literature in general. However, we can also say that, between them, they have the most different styles of writing they can have, just as well as their lives. For example, as Christenbury (n.d.) stated, firstly that Walt Whitman was someone “[…] who struggled to get his poems published and who developed a broad admiring audience during his lifetime. In contrast, the reclusive Emily Dickinson died unknown to the world of poetry, leaving a box full of unpublished poems”. Nevertheless, we can find some similarities in their lives, for example, both of them lived in a difficult historical period: on the one hand Emily Dickinson, who was born the 10th of December of 1830 and on the other hand, Walt Whitman, who was born the 31st of May of 1819, lived the period of the American civil war.
As one reads Emily Dickinson’s poems, often times his or her first thought is “Wow! I have no idea what this means!” After reading a variety of her poems, it is clear that various ideas, people, and styles played into her works. Emily Dickinson was a woman of many complex personas—which is most prevalent in the letters she wrote to her sister, Susan. Throughout Dickinson’s works, she speaks of numerous subjects not to identify their meaning, but instead to explore the way these ideas impact life.
In “Because I Could Not Stop For Death”, Emily Dickinson uses imagery and symbols to establish the cycle of life and uses examples to establish the inevitability of death. This poem describes the speaker’s journey to the afterlife with death. Dickinson uses distinct images, such as a sunset, the horses’ heads, and the carriage ride to establish the cycle of life after death. Dickinson artfully uses symbols such as a child, a field of grain, and a sunset to establish the cycle of life and its different stages. Dickinson utilizes the example of the busyness of the speaker and the death of the sun to establish the inevitability of death.