Comment on Emily Dickinson’s treatment of death

Comment on Emily Dickinson’s treatment of death


Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was a famous American poet in the history of English literature. She is a mystic poet. In the poem “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”, she mystically represents her relationship with death.

Cause of obsession with death

In her personal life, she was secluded as a result of her reclusive life. She was obsessed with death. Nearly her 1800 poems are about death. “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” is one of them. Her treatment of death in the poem has been illustrated below.

More Notes of Poetry

The recurring theme of death

In Emily’s nearly 1800 poems, she has depicted the theme of death in a recurring way. In the poem “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”, her treatment of death is unconventional. She represents death as an endearing bridegroom who leads her first journey to the grave and then to eternity-

“Because I could not stop for Death

He kindly stopped for me-

The carriage held but just ourselves-

And immortality.”

Death is civil and cordial to her

Emily has mentioned that death is civil and cordial to her. In a dramatic conversational way, she says that the journey has started and their carriage moves along and slowly. Death has no hurriedness and behaved more cordially. The poet feels so comfortable with death that she left her daily work-

“And I had put away

My labor and my leisure too,

For His civility”

A better companion

Death appeared in the poem “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” as a better companion of the poet. They start their journey through the fields of gazing grain and they see the school which symbolically represents the childhood of human life, fields mean the last stage of life-

“We passed the school, where children strove

We passed the fields of Grazing Grain-

We passed the setting sun”

Death as comfortable and enjoyable

To Emily, death is comfortable and enjoyable. He does not know any cruelty. Finally, their journey is stopped at a house, which means the grave. Their enjoyable and comfortable journey still continues towards eternity.

Death as the bridge towards eternity

According to the poet, death does not demolish all rather it leads the poet to eternal life with immortality. So the fact is that in the poem “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” death represents the bridge of eternal life.

“I first surmised the Horses Heads

Were toward Eternity”


It can be concluded that the poem “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” deals with the poet’s spiritual pursuit which leads her to immortality.

SR Sarker
SR Sarker
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