Many people mourned the men lost in Civil War battles that year and it was not just their families that mourned them, it was whole towns and states. Taken in light of the year it was written this poem makes sense, the Civil War affected everyone in the country. Not only were the people mourning the death of the strangers who lost their lives on the battlefield but they were also mourning the loss of the Union itself (Moore, 131-132).
The plot in "Because I Could Not Stop For Death" is the narrator is picked up by Death and is heading towards eternity. Patricia Engle in her article in the Explicator states that "It is simply not her nature to stop for Death. She realizes that she cannot recognize Death's power over her" (74). Dickinson contrasts life with death in such a way that it is almost unnoticeable until you really read the poem closely. She also covers the stages of life very well with the "children", "grazing grain", and "setting sun" being used as metaphors for the different stages one must go through to be able to ride in Death's carriage (Dickinson, reprinted in Explicator, 73).
In "As By The Dead We Love To Sit" Dickinson tells the story of how we miss the dead once they are gone more than we do the living. Also, how we try to hold onto the lost but are not able to sometimes. There is a difference between the lost and the dead in this poem which is why they are both their. The lost are the people who for one reason or another have left the life of the narrator but are not dead. However, the main question of the poem is why do we value a person more when they are lost or dead than when there are alive and here with us This is what the second quatrain is about how people tend on the whole to over-value something or someone they do not have (Daniels, 11).
"I Felt A Funeral, In My Brain" is more about loneliness than death. The narrator tells how they have felt a funeral in their brain and are felling alone. The narrator is talking about what is inside their head not actual events that happened. Why is the narrator hearing or seeing these things Why do Silence, Sense, Mind, Space, and Reason seem to have human qualities even when they themselves are so ethereal I believe this poem is speaking more along the lines of a fear of being alone in life than being dead. The narrator sounds like they are loosing their mind. The whole tone of the poem is lonely. There is never another person mentioned.
The plot in "I Measure Every Grief I Meet" is very easy to understand. The narrator is grieving and wants to know if other people's grief is as bad as theirs. Dickinson uses this poem to put forth the idea that nobody ever recovers from grief completely. There is always a part of you that is constantly mourning a loved one or something that you have lost. This poem left me feeling nothing personally but I did understand it better than some of the others, probably because it is so straight forward. There are no unusual uses of words or metaphors or any other literary tool. This is just a straight forward poem about grief.
In the poem "It Was Not Death, For I Stood Up" the narrator denies that they are dead at first but comes to realize by the end of the poem that they really are. The reader does not