The unexpected voyage in a horse-drawn carriage that leads to the tomb is the extended metaphor used to illustrate the process of dying in Emily Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop for Death." The speaker is represented as a carriage driver who "kindly" pauses for him. However, instead of helping the man continue on his journey, the driver takes him to his death.
Dickinson uses language and images from the funeral industry to describe the carriage ride and burial. She also compares death to travel, saying that they are two things we all have to experience at some point in our lives. Finally, she implies that we should live each day like it is our last because one day we will die.
Dickinson wrote several poems about death, but none more so than this one. It is estimated that between 1840 and 1870, over 250 people attended her funerals. Many famous people were buried in Dickinson's yard next to the house where she lived, which is why researchers believe that she published this poem in order to make money. Although she never married or had children, many men sent her letters asking her to marry them. One such letter was written by a Mr. Austin who said that he would give her $100,000 if she would be his wife.
Dickinson refused both the money and the marriage offer. She told him that she did not want to be anything more than friends.
Emily Dickinson recounts a near experience with Death and Immortality in her poem Because I Could Not Stop for Death. Death and Immortality are portrayed as characters through personification. Her comfort with death and immortality at the start of the poem puts the reader at ease with the concept of death. Death is not feared, but accepted as part of life.
Dickinson uses clear language to describe Death's appearance and character. She writes that Death is "a shadow more dark than shade", which means that it has both light and darkness within it. This idea is expanded upon when she writes that Death is "a messenger who comes to all". The word "messenger" can be interpreted as someone sent by someone else or something brought by someone. In this case, Death is viewed as someone who comes to all people, regardless of class or status.
Another interesting concept within the poem is the use of comparisons. When describing how fast Death went when he caught up with her, Dickinson uses the example of a swift horse to explain just how quick Death is. A horse is considered a very swift animal so this comparison makes sense within the context of the poem. It shows that even though Death seems like he is going slow compared to others, he is still able to catch up with others quickly.
Last, but not least, one reason why Because I Could Not Stop for Death is important is due to its influence on future poets.
Dickinson utilizes personification in her poem "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" to describe how death is like to a person. This is seen when she describes how death awaits her. In her poem "Because I Could Not Stop for Death," Emily Dickinson also used metaphors. She compares the journey and final resting place of death with them. Another example is how she says death is like a "rider" that cannot be avoided.
Some people may wonder what type of figurative language this is. It is best described as hyperbole. Hyperbole is using words or phrases to express something that is not really true but it has great impact anyway. For example, saying someone is dead when they are actually alive can have devastating results. Or saying you love someone completely when you only love some of their traits would be an example of hyperbole. Figurative language is used in poetry and prose to create images that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. By combining simple nouns and verbs into compounds we can create new meanings for them. These new meanings can help us understand ideas and feelings about life or death that wouldn't otherwise be clear. Using adjectives and adverbs to describe actions, objects, and states of being allows us to expand on simple concepts. Metaphors are comparisons that allow us to explain abstract ideas by comparing them to something more familiar such as food or sports teams. Personification involves treating objects or animals as if they had thoughts and feelings.