Line 1: Because I could not stop for Death – This line presupposes an argument and a counterargument. Dickinson raises a question straightaway and her being not able to stop Death raises certain grim apprehensions in the mind. Why the poet mentions death, why the poet is gripped with such an imminent belief that she is going to the land from where no one has ever returns! Does she own premonitions about her impending death? What ails her physically or mentally? Or the abrupt mention of the word Death is a literally ploy to grab the attention of the reader? Line 2: He kindly stopped for me – In addition, the line concludes with a dash, hinting something negative is in store for the reader to know.
But the expectations of the readers are dashed to the ground, with positive notes. The poet employs the word ‘kindly for Death. The tone of the poem suddenly changes and it creates some favorable expectations. Nothing tragic is going to happen to the poet. Lines 3-4: The Carriage held but just Ourselves -And Immortality. the poet but with a pertinent purpose. With the arrival of the Carriage, she drives the reader to the certainty of her final journey, but wait!
She again employs the line break to take an brupt turn and brings forth the word, Immortality, to the great relief of the reader. The poet reveals deep philosophical and spiritual insights by highlighting the world Immortality which is the final frontier and the goal of human life. There is nothing beyond that. The capitalization of the three words has been done deliberately by the poet to convey profound meanings apart from the emphasis. By Carriage she certainly means the divine Carriage that has arrived to claim her mortal body. But Again the line break is generously employed by the poet is not afraid of Death.
The state of Death is a mere ransition towards the eternal life, as such she assures the readers that she is Immortal. Line 5: We slowly drove – He knew no haste: Even though the final destination has been declared by the poet which is death, she deliberately creates suspenseful moments by stating ‘we slowly drove. ” Is she the instructing party or the consenting party to the slow movement of the carriage? Why slow movement at all? This indicates the carefree approach of the poet towards death. She does not agree that the state of Death is final and the state of impending death is something to be afraid of.
For Death also it is a routine ob as such ‘no haste’ attitude is ingrained in him. This line tries to douse the fear related to the reality of Death everyone has to face. Lines 6-8: And I put away My labor and my leisure too, For his Civility -Also, the poet seems to have accepted the final notice of Death and it is polite one to wound up all business related to the present life. Death is so charming in disposition; she applies closure to all her secular activities, including the leisure time and readies to do the bidding of Death happily.
The poet knows the real nature of Death that it is totally harmless and only helps the human being in transition from one life to he other, perhaps for the better, in the case of poet. She is impressed by his politeness, as people normally think that Death does a crude and thankless job, as no one would like to die, normally. She is thoroughly convinced that her permanent interests are secure in the hands of Death and nothing untoward will happen to her in his association and he is merely supervising the stage of transition in her life. assed the School, where Children Strove At Recess – in the Ring In addition to painting the grim picture of Death in the very first line, the poet seems to revert back to recoup her original oetic stance by describing a happy scene as they are riding by. It is about School. School is the place which is the day-time abode for the lively children and during the recess they are extra-enthusiastic. It is all play, play and more play. From the Line 9-10: We transcendental point of view Death is also the divine play. The poet articulates that Death is not something grim or special.
It is the divine kindergarten play in which everybody is happy. It is the break in the continuity of life. Field of Gazing Grain -We passed the Setting Sun – Likewise, the poet seems to return to her original sense of observation of ifferent agents of Nature like the Field and the Setting Sun. The expression ‘Gazing Grain’ is important. What does the Grain Gaze? It is awaiting its own fate like that of the poet? The grains will soon be harvested and they will also go through the process of consumption. That is their cycle of birth and death.
The grain observes the carriage pass, and it must also be awaiting it to be carried in bundles of sack to its destination-journey. setting Sun comes close to the description of Death. The setting Sun indicates the end of the day but he also promises that there is going to be another day, after the break of night. He is not setting for ever; rather he definitely knows that he is destined to rise tomorrow, without fail. Sunset and sunrise are like the Line 11-12: We passed the The alternative beats of the same heart. The setting sun knows that he is going to rise. The rising sun knows that he is going to set.
His existence is part of the eternal activity of rising and setting. His life is the process of coming and going. – He passed Us – The turnabout by the poet is abrupt and meaningful. The poet employs personification to describe the sun and his role in relation to the poet, who is in the secure company of Death. Sun, light, warmth, grain all symbolizes life. By articulating ‘He passed Us’, the poet hints that Sun, who is the symbol of life has no significance in her life which is in the possession of cold Death. As the Carriage continues with the journey, the poet is going far from the secular world, bubbling with activity everywhere.
The terminal point of life is fast arriving where the Carriage will unload the cold luggage. The poet seems to grimly Line 13: Or rather await the final frontier now and will reach the land from where no one will ever return in the same form. Lines 14-16: The Dews drew quivering and Chill -For only Gossamer, my Gown – My Tippet – only Tulle – Also, the abrupt change in the mental stance of the poet in these lines is worth noting. Death does not arrive by notice. The race of life is abruptly terminated and often one does not get the opportunity to cross the finishing line.
Death marks its time as per its own calculations. He does not give an opportunity for one to get ready. The same happens in the case of poet here. “Gossamer” refers to the dress material. The gown that the poet is wearing is of thin and delicate material. “Tippet” is an old fashioned shawl made of “tulle” which is thin and silky. Meaning, she is not properly dressed for he journey and Death asks her to accompany him in so to say, “as-is-where-is” condition. She is thoroughly under-prepared for the journey in the company of Death. Cold is related with death in literature.
The phrase “quivering and Chill” refers to her physical and perhaps mental condition in the company of Death; her will power is fast ebbing out. paused before a House that seemed A Swelling of the Ground – Finally, she is in face to face with the situation, with no choices about life. It is the end of the story now. The concluding sentence will be written soon. ‘Swelling of the Ground’ is nothing but the burial spot. The final rights will be carried out soon and her body will hide forever in the bosom of Mother Earth. Death has brought her to the final destination. o the poetic charm even while describing the burial ground.
She refers it as ‘House’ and provides essential dignity to the situation. This is the subtle method of describing the same and goes well with the overall theme of the poem that Death is not at all a grim event but just another innovation of Nature. The freshly dug grave awaits her but the poet takes it as just another phase of life in a newly constructed House. Roof was scarcely visible -The Cornice – in the Ground ay, it is not an elaborately prepared place for burial. The poet explains its simple structure.
Referring to the Cornice (the topmost, pointed part of the roof) she indicates that it is almost Line 17-18: We But the poet lives up Line 19-20: The By the on the level of the ground as such there is nothing special about the same. It is indicator to the simple arrangements as for the rest of the grave. The grave, the major part of it being under the ground, the poet can hardly have an opportunity for its detailed examination, nor does she seem to be much interested in observing its decor, should there be any. Soon the formalities of the action of actual burial will be completed.
As the wise old saying goes, ‘dust thou art to dust returnest’. In any case in the final ruling of Death, the poet does not have any say. 21-22: Since then – ’tis Centuries – and yet Feels shorter than the Day By the way, this is not the current story. With the sudden twist in the time-line of the story, the poet assures the reader that it is not the current story, but an event that happened centuries ago. The speaker has been dead from the beginning to the end of the narration (poem). It is just the recollection of the ast, sweet or sour and by repeating the same one does not lose anything at present.
Only the memory lingers on, and it seems that the event just took place just yesterday. The poet creates awareness with the reader as for the fleeting nature of Line Time. Line 23-24:I first surmised the Horses’ Heads Were toward Eternity – The final lines of the poem make a reference to the Horses’ Heads. They are not ordinary horses. They do the specially assigned responsibly for the God of Death. With the emphasis on Eternity, the poet is sure about her afterlife. She owns, even in Death, something not perishable, with her march to Eternity.