“Because I Could not Stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson is a poem in which the persona seems to be a deceased person who recalls the last moments just before death; “Because I could not stop for death he kindly stopped for me…” and the ‘afterlife’ thereafter “since then ’tis centuries…” (506, 507). The persona brings out the paradox of how immortal mortality is, and likens the tomb to a house in which they briefly paused on the way to eternity.
Dickinson personifies death and starts by painting a picture of the involuntary nature of death, where the deceased has no choice to choose between dying or not. However, here, death is not portrayed as cruel in nature as the author states that it “kindly stops” for the deceased (506). The main theme that comes out clearly throughout the poem is that of irony as Dickinson brings out the immortality in mortality. The persona is speaking from the grave, centuries after transition into the afterlife. The poet also brings out the tenderness and kind nature of death contrary to the general perception that death is always cruel and unpleasant, and the transition is often characterized by a painful and bumpy ride into mortality. It appears that the poet is trying to demystify the misconceptions that have been firmly held since time immemorial, and replace them with the pleasant touch of death. He asserts that the persona “had to put…
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