Death is the predominant theme of quite a few poems by Emily Dickinson. Other poets too have written paeans to death and elegies on the deaths of dear ones, but Emily Dickinson's attitude to death appears truly unique because of the delicately balanced ambivalence of her feelings on the subject.
The best way to gain insight into Dickinson's attitude to death appears to be to look closely at a few other poems by her on the subject. One such poem has her in the rather unusual role of an outside observer-"There's Been a Death." The opening stanza introduces the subject:
The poet may be a detached observer, but the keenness of the observation is remarkable. Not only does she note the 'numb look' which at least to her, is characteristic of a house in which a death has recently occurred, she also remarks on what other people might see and then forget:
The narrator notes, moreover, the minister's proprietorial approach, the entry of the milliner and of "the man/ Of the appalling trade" and the entire "dark parade" of "tassels and coaches". The poem ends with words that disavow any special insight on the part of the speaker and claim instead that this power of observation is second nature to country folk:
This fact is brought out quite easily in the most well-known of Dickinson's poems on death, "Because I Could not Stop for Death" (also known as "The Chariot"). In this poem the speaker (no doubt the poet herself) is a young lady of marriageable age and Death is a gentleman who has come to call on her, to take her out on a date. The narrator's tone in the first stanza is almost coy:
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
In such a situation, the poet is as ladylike as any courteous gentleman caller could expect:
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.
The carriage or ...
Cite this document
(“At Least Half in Love With Debonair Death: Emily Dickinson's Attitude Essay”, n.d.)
Retrieved from https://studentshare.net/miscellaneous/273331-at-least-half-in-love-with-debonair-death-emily-dickinsons-attitude-to-mortality
(At Least Half in Love With Debonair Death: Emily Dickinson'S Attitude Essay)
“At Least Half in Love With Debonair Death: Emily Dickinson'S Attitude Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.net/miscellaneous/273331-at-least-half-in-love-with-debonair-death-emily-dickinsons-attitude-to-mortality.
The reader is always aware of the fact that the writer likely intends something more in their lines. “The very making of a poem involves a transformation from perceived reality or experience into a verbal utterance shaped by the poet’s imagination and craft” (Pettit).
In English literature, the attitude to love has been a major concern of poetry as early as Chaucer and the theme of love has been celebrated through various periods in the history of English literature. Some of the most famous poems in literature for their attitude to love include Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress”, T S Eliot’s “The Love Song of J.
Today Emily Dickinson is recognized as one of America’s greatest poets. During his life in 19th century New England, however, she lived a life of reclusion and relative obscurity. Indeed, although Dickinson was a highly prolific writer a very small amount of her poems were published during her lifetime.
Death is the departure of soul from the body and eventually the decomposition of the body. She illustrates such death in her poem ‘A clock just stopped’. The poem shows death is inevitable. Doctors cannot save the person from dying. One can only watch as their loved ones slowly slip away and their clock finally stops ticking.
The most profound symbol in “Because I could not stop for Death” is Death, who is described as a gentleman, and the driver of the carriage that stops for the speaker. This man is immediately identified as Death, but unlike the harrowing visions of the Grim Reaper that many of us are familiar with, he is depicted as a suitor, a kindly gentleman wanting only to escort a lady to her final resting place.
Additionally, her themes seem to have been much influenced by her life of solitude and depression, a life that if continuously depicted in her famous collection of poems. While she is keen to show the reality of death and its presence in the people, she shows high hopes in a life after death.
Even when she writes about the commonplace, how she expresses them is like no one else in her time (Meyer 142). She was not reluctant to defy convention, with her unusual grammatical manipulation and frequent use of dashes. She stands out as one of the greatest American literary figures.
spective, most likely colored by aspects of Dickinson’s personal life, there is little to point to in her poem, “Because I could not stop for Death,” that affirms it. The use of imagery in the poem can be more realistically explored from a more commonplace and less