Because ICould not Stopfor DeathBy: EmilyDickinsonBrian S., Caitlyn M.,Stephanie L.
Define Words Gossamer: a thin, light cloth Line 15 Tippet: A womans scarf, typically of fur Line 16 Tulle: A soft, fine silk, cotton, or nylon material likenet, used for making veils and dresses. Line 16 Cornice: the molding around the top of a building Line 20
Poetic Devices The entire poem contains imagery to create thescene of the speaker traveling with death to thegrave Repetition “We passed…” appears 3 times in the 3 stanza Alliteration “Recess…Ring-” “Grazing Grain” “Setting Sun” “Gossamer…Gown-” “Tippet…Tulle-” “Horses’ Heads”
Poetic Devices Metaphor The character of death is used as an extendedmetaphor to examine what real death may be like The house is a metaphor fir a grave. This shows thespeaker accepts and is comfortable with dying. Personification Death is personified and is a guide leading thespeaker to eternity “He kindly stopped for me-” “He knew no haste-” “His Civility” “We paused before a House…” “The Dews grew quivering and chill-”
Punctuation andCapitalization Capitalized words bring the reader’s attention tothe word and show its importance. Also causesreaders to pause and consider their importance Uses a lot of dashes to emphasize a longer pause References to religion reflect her very religiousvalues “He” God “Immortality” belief that life after death is eternal inheaven
Diction Dickinson uses a simple writing style thatemphasizes the speaker’s acceptance with death “kindly” and “civility”: convey to readers thatDeath is the speaker’s friend and the speakersaccepts dying Death “slowly drove – he knew no haste”, soreaders can infer that death is slow and takes itstime. The grave is not something to be feared. This isshown by her describing the grave simply as a“House”
Summary of Stanza #1Because I could not stop for Death,He kindly stopped for me;The carriage held but just ourselvesAnd Immortality.The speaker is too busy for death, sodeath “kindly” takes the time to dowhat the speaker can’t and stops forthe speaker
Summary of Stanza #2We slowly drove- He knew no haste,And I had put awayMy Labor, and my leisure too,For His Civility.The “civility” that Death exhibits intaking the time out for the speakerleads the speaker to give up thosethings that made the speaker so busyso he can enjoy the ride.
Summary of Stanza #3We passed the School, where Children stroveAt Recess, in the Ring-We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain-We passed the Setting Sun.These are reminders of the world the speakeris leaving behind.
Summary of StanzasHer place in the world shifts betweenstanza 3 and stanza 4. The speaker isno longer active but now only part ofthe landscape.
Summary of StanzasWe paused before a House that seemedA Swelling of the Ground-The Roof was scarcely visible,The Cornice-in a mound-The carriage pauses at her new “House”,which is not an actual house, but insteada grave. They only pause here because itis only a resting place as the speakertravels to eternity.
Summary of Stanza #4Or rather- He passed Us-The Dews grew quivering and chill-For only Gossamer my Gown-My Tippet only Tulle.The speaker is not properly dressedfor a funeral. In fact, the gossamergown is more like a wedding dress,which represents a new beginningrather than an end
Summary of StanzasSince then-tis centuries- and yet eachFeels shorter than the DayI first surmised the Horses HeadsWere toward eternity.There is a glimpse given at eternity,made clear in the 1st 2 lines, as thespeaker says although it has been manyyears since death, it feels no longer thana day- the day of the speaker’s death
Tone Lighthearted and Accepting Although death is usual a sad event, Dickinson makesit seem like a good thing because the speaker doesnot fear it. Uses words like “kindly”, “civility” Solemn Death is a serious subject, but the speakerunderstands now that it is just a part of life. Uses phrases such as “He knew no haste” Shock Death came for the speaker in the middle of her busylife, when she was not prepared “Because I could not stop for Death-”
Theme While we are never prepared for death, itis not to be feared, but should beembraced because it is part of theendless circle of life.
Transcendentalist or Anti-Transcendentalist? Transcendentalists believed nature was symbolic.Dickinson used many images from nature in thispoem “Fields of Grazing Grain” “Setting Sun” “Dews” “…a House that seemed a swelling of the Ground”(her grave)