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Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality. We slowly drove, he knew no haste 5 And I had put away My labor, and my leisure too, For his civility. We passed the school where children played Their lessons scarcely done; 10 We passed the fields of gazing grain, We passed the setting sun. We paused before a house that seemed A swelling of the ground; The roof was scarcely visible, 15 The cornice but a mound.
Since then t is centuries; but each Feels shorter than the day I first surmised the horses heads Were toward eternity. 20 (Franklin) The Author Emily Dickinson became one of Americas most noted poets after her death. The poetry she wrote was mainly about death, grief and love. Her poems offered a different prospective on death and its effects on others. Her poems on love were sad and about lost love. Although she was considered a Lyrical poet, her critics say there was an absence of metre and rhyme. Other critics believe this was her deliberate artistic expression.
Her poetry reflects her loneliness and the speakers of her poems generally live in a state of want and sadness (Reeves). Emily Dickinson (1830 1886) was born to a proper New England family in Amherst, Massachusetts (Barnet 444). She became one of Americas most noted poets after her death. Although she made several attempts to get published, some believe the reason so few were published was because her work was far ahead of its time (Gilson). After her death her sister, Lavinia discovered she left 1, 775 poems, only 7 had been published (Barnet 444). Most of her poetry was about grief, death and love.
The theme of death was unconventional during that time. She often gave death personalities. That was different from the traditional views on death. Her poems offered a different prospective on death and its effects on others. Dickinson appeared to have a normal childhood and was described as being bright, witty, had many friends and attended parties. She began to withdraw from society in her early 30 s.
There were occasions when she would speak to her friends and loved ones from the other side of a door instead of face to face. She may have been what we know now as Agoraphobic. That is the fear of open spaces or of leaving a safe place. She was somewhat of a recluse, and may never have left her home in the last 20 years of her life (Barnet 444). She may have been content to stay in her home and garden because of her challenging imagination. With an imagination like hers practical experience may have appeared to be dull.
She never married but developed several passionate relationships with both women and men. Some critics believe she was homosexual and had a relationship with her sister in-law, Sue Gilbert Dickinson. Her letters describe 19 th century expressions of love among women. She compared her love for Sue as not being compatible with Sues marriage to her brother, Austin. Others believe her letters presented an ideal version of female friendship based on mutual love (Emily 1) Dickinson had several relationships with men. One was Benjamin Franklin Newton, a law student who worked in her fathers office.
He was more of a mentor who taught her an appreciation of authors. Her most passionate relationship was with Judge Otis P. Lord. It was believed that Emily was in love with him the last 6 years of her life. He died in 1884. In June, after his death Emily suffered a nervous collapse.
Her health went downhill from there and she slipped into a coma and paralysis as a result of Brights disease. She died on May 15, 1886 (Dickinson 17). She was lonely as a girl many believe she chose to be lonely and thought isolation as her fate. (Dickinson 14). After her death and discovering her poems, her sister took the poems to Mabel Loomis Todd agreed to work on publishing her Poems.
Lavinia and Mrs. Todd had a disagreement and the poems were divided between them. Later in 1955 Thomas H. Johnson started bringing all the known poems together in The Poems of Emily Dickinson three volumes were published in 1958.
Mr. Johnsons work on the poems has been greatly praised (Dickinson 17). When her father died in June 1874, Emily was devastated. She did not appear to be close her mother or father, but somewhat closer to her father.
In one statement Emily said, I have never had a mother (Dickinson 2). A year after her fathers death her mother suffered paralysis and became an invalid. Emily and her sister Lavina took care of their mother the rest of her life. Emily described it as her mother becoming the child and her becoming the mother. Critique of Because I Could Not Stop for Death and the Author Emily Dickinson's poetry is a reflection of the sadness in her life.
In the poem, Because I Could Not Stop for Death the use of images remembered from the past helps to clarify concepts of unknown limits of eternity. She is comparing the known to the unknown. Also, the poem shows the relationship between reality and the imagination. In the line (1) she says Because I could not stop for death (2) He kindly stopped for me implies even though were not always ready for death it comes anyway. Line (5) of the poem We slowly drove he knew no haste and lines (6) And I had put away and (7) My labor and my leisure too might mean there is no hurry now and things that may have seemed important before death came, are no longer so important. The poem also implies the natural progression of the stages of life.
In line (18) A Swelling of the Ground, literally this shows as the carriage rises toward the sky toward heaven, this makes the ground look like it is swelling below them. The poem may symbolize three stages of life. Childhood may be represented by line (9) School, where Children played; maturity may be represented by line (11) Fields of Grazing Grain; and old age represented by line (12) We passed the setting sun. Dickinson may have viewed ones entire life as Horses Heads (23) leading toward eternity (24). The stages of existence are implied (Shaw). This poem was written in what is described as being her prolific years when over one-third of her poems were written (Joyner).
Dickinson's poetry has been compared to Edgar Allen Poe. She went out of her way to cultivate what others tried to avoid. For example I like a look of Agony she said because I know its true. She was resourceful in finding power where others found pain. She also wrote about loneliness and love probably because of the absence of love or a lover in her life (Dickinson 11).
Works Cited Dickinson, Emily, Literature for Composition: Essays, Fiction, Poetry and Drama. Ed. Sylvan Barnet, Morton Berman, William But, William Cain, and Marcia Stubbs, New York: Longman, 2000. 44 Emily Dickinson Love Letters to Sue Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, Literature Resource Center. Gale Net. NSTCC Lib. , Blountville, TN. 06 Mar 2002 web Franklin, Ralph W. Because I Could Not Stop For Death.
The Poems of Emily Dickinson, web Gilson, Bill, Emily Dickinson bio by Bill Gilson, 06 Mar 2002 < web Joyner, Nancy Carol, Reference Guide to American Literature 3 rd ed. , St James Press, 1994. Reeves, James Emily Dickinson: Overview Literature Resource Center. Gale Net NSTCC Lib. , Blountville, TN. 06 Mar 2002. Shaw, M.
N. , Dickinson's Because I Could Not Stop for Death, Explicator, Fall 91 Vol 50 Issue 1, p 20 d. < web
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