The Use of Symbolism Multiple Times in Because I Could Not Stop for Death, a Poem by Emily Dickinson

In the poem, “Because I could not stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson, Dickinson shows symbolism multiple times throughout her poem. Because Dickinson’s father died this inflicted much pain on Dickinson; therefore, she chose to symbolize and write about death in her poems. Also, Dickinson barely left her house during the last ten years of her life; therefore, she isolated herself from society and chose to write about death and darkness due to her father’s death. Because of Dickinson’s personal agony that was inflicted upon her, she expresses this through symbolism in her writing.

Emily Dickinson uses symbolism multiple times in this poem. At the beginning of the poem, Emily states, “Because I could not stop for Death-He kindly stopped for me-The Carriage held but just ourselves- And Immortality” (426). What Dickinson is saying is that because death wasn’t upon her yet, death quickly and unsuspectedly took her away for eternal life; therefore, she will live in immortality in heaven. Although Dickinson does not state exactly what I interpreted above, she used symbolism to state what I interpreted to help the reader grasp the concept in a deeper meaning.

Because symbolism helps the reader grasp the material better, Dickinson demonstrates this through out her poem. Dickinson professes, “We passed the school,/ where children strove/ At Recess- in the Ring- We passed the setting Sun-” (427). Dickinson talks about the school she used to attend, her friends that went there, and Recess time; therefore, as she was dying her life flashed before her eyes, and she began to daydream about all of her past memories. Then, Dickinson says she passed the setting sun symbolizing the end of her life because when the sun goes down they day is over, so her life was over. Dickinson grabs the reader’s attention more easily because she displays symbolism various times in her poem.

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