Dickinson’s Mystery

Exclusively available on PapersOwl
Updated: Jun 29, 2022
Cite this
Date added
Pages:  4
Words:  1076
Order Original Essay

How it works

A title of any written work is the first impression for most readers. It can pull the audience in with a preconceived impression of the work. Perhaps the title sounded like a love story and ended up being a murder mystery, or maybe the title was funny and read to make the audience cry. With Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I Could Not Stop for Death,” the initial interpretation is left up to the audience in a way that can profoundly provoke thoughts and interest.

Need a custom essay on the same topic?
Give us your paper requirements, choose a writer and we’ll deliver the highest-quality essay!
Order now

Understanding the author, the period that this play was written in, and her literary talents will help readers to connect with the intricate meanings of this legendary poem and the author.

Dickinson was a mystery to many, a recluse who created hundreds of poems and letters. She intrigued her audiences and yet confused them at the same time. Born in 1830, she grew up in a modest town named Amherst, Massachusetts. A middle child, she had one older brother and a younger sister. They were raised in a very religious family where her father was an important member of both the community and Congregational church. Her mother an extremely educated woman of her time would focus on being a wife and mother tending to her family and home. Emily Dickinson traveled a parallel path to her mother, having the opportunity that many women of the time did not have, education. As she grew, so did her life experiences and knowledge of the world. She would later become an agnostic and left school for required family duties. During this time, she would experience the loss of her father, illness and care of her mother and the loss of a very close friend. As the past stayed behind and life moved forward, she became more withdrawn and lived the life of a recluse. Dickinson only stayed connected through her writing. However, her sister Lavinia disagreed with what most thought of Emily, insisting that “Emily was not withdrawn she was always glad when someone rewarding would come to the house: Susan Dickinson also attributed Emily’s retreat to that of a brilliant mind with a sense of mission” (Gray 8). Dickinson never married, nor did she have children before her death in 1886. During a period when society had specific feminine norms, Dickinson appeared to be creating her own norm.

Written in approximately 1863, “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” was part of Dickinson’s posthumous collection. During this time, America was in a civil war and people’s beliefs were changing. Emily Dickinson was finding her own during this century. “The mid nineteenth century had an increase in Transcendentalism. This is a structure that was both a literary and religious insinuation. It was a belief in the principle of the universe through the understanding of nature. Nature was understood through deep thought and poetry. On the surface, Puritanism and Transcendentalism could not be more different, but each shows itself in Dickinson’s poems” (Napierkowski 7). Religion was not the only belief fighting the norm through writing, women’s identities, dreams and rights were also shown through the written word. Many women writers during this tumultuous time period of transition used male pseudonyms in order to be taken more seriously by publishers. In general, women writers of this time felt the need to suppress their gender, though not their creative voice. Dickinson was a bit of an exception as she did not write to be published. She wrote because of her talent in portraying her life through the written word. Dickinson reflected her struggles of love, death and being an independent female, with thoughts and passions of her own as well as her religious upbringing through her poems and letters. Both life and death were portrayed in this poem. Was death a representation of the times, her experiences and subtle fight against the norm or did it represent family and friends that had passed or the loss of love? No one truly knows. However, there are many that believe that it was a representation of her independence: “This poem is nothing less than an argument against marriage and the smothering effect it can have on a woman’s independence” (Semansky 1). Allow not likely intentionally, Dickinson’s trailblazing voice encouraged further feminist movements.

Dickinson’s literary talents did not go unnoticed by her colleagues. One of those talents was the personification of death. Death became a human gentleman in this poem, which connected audiences. “Biographer Thomas Johnson claimed that “in 1863 [the year the poem was written] Death came into full stature as a person. `Because I could not stop for Death’ is a superlative achievement wherein Death becomes one of the great characters of literature” (Semansky 1). It is an art to convince readers to relate with an oxymoron; death is alive. Dickinson also drew audiences in with the four-line stanzas she used, which resemble the sounds of a hymn. By delivering this subtly she created a union between the rhythm of her own words and the familiar songs of Christianity. While creating this familiar feeling, she also constructed distinct visual imagery for her audience “Bringing in the fields of gazing grain, the setting sun, and a chill in the air” (Dickinson 807). Its as if the reader is on the carriage ride, feeling the cold and gazing out seeing the acquainted little ones playing, familiar fields with a setting sun and a home that they may pass every day. Bringing all three of these talents together makes for a poem that lasted centuries. As a prolific poet, her words today are taught across our nation.

Dickinson was a woman with clear literary talent and a drive to pursue more than her society would allow. Imagine an agnostic feminist, lover, and brilliant mind stuck in a time of suppression for women. While she pulled away from society and lived life through her words, a true work of art was created in “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”. The title only piques intrigue as the details pulled the readers in. Many have questioned whether Dickinson has used all these attributes of her life to create this poem or did one extreme event determine her poetic rhythm of death, immortality and eternity? It is conceivable that she predicted a future in her words. Emily Dickinson “Could not stop for death, although death kindly stopped for her” and her immortal words live on for eternity, giving readers the chills and wonder of the true meaning.

The deadline is too short to read someone else's essay
Hire a verified expert to write you a 100% Plagiarism-Free paper

Cite this page

Dickinson’s Mystery. (2022, Jun 27). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/dickinsons-mystery/