Abstract:Analyzes t。he poem `Because I Could Not Stop for Death,' b。y Emily Dickinson. The use of remembered images of the past to clarify infinite conceptions through the establishment of a dialectical relati。onship betwe。en reali。ty and imagination, the known and the unknown; The viewpoint of eternity; Understanding of the incomprehensible; Th。e stages of existence.
DICKINSON'S BECAUSE I COULD NOT STOP FOR DEATH
In "Because I Could。 Not Stop for D。eath" (J712), Emily Dickinson uses remembered images of the past to clarify infinite conceptions through the establishment of。 a dialectical relat。ionship between reality and ima。gination, the known and the unknown. By viewing this rel。ati。onship holistically and hierarchically ordering the stages of life to include death and eterni。ty,。 Dickinson suggests the interconn。ected and mutua。lly d。etermi。ned n。ature of the finit。e and infinite.
From the viewpoint of eternity, the speaker recalls experiences that happened on earth centuries ago. In her recollect。ion, she attempts to identify th。e eternal world by its relatio。nship to temporal standards, as she states that "Centuries" (21) in eternity are "sho。rter than the [earthly] day" (22). Likewise, by anthropomorphizing Death as a kind and civil gentleman, the spea。ker particul。arizes Death's characteristics with favor。able connotations.  Similarly, the finite and infinite are amalgamated in the fourth stanza:
The Dews dre。w quivering and chill-- For only Gossamer, my Gown--My Tippett--only Tulle--(14-16)
In thes。e lines the speaker's。 temporal existence, which allows her to quiver as she is chilled by the "Dew," merges with the spiritual universe, as the speaker is attired in a "Gown" and cape or "Tippet,"。 made respectively of "Gossamer," a cobweb, and "Tulle," a kind of thin, open net-temporal coverings that suggest tr。anspar。ent, spiritual qualities。.
Understanding the inco。mprehensible often depends on an appreciation of the progression of the stages of existence. By recalling specific stages of life on earth, the speaker not only set。tles her temporal past but also views these happeni。ngs from a hig。her awareness, both literally and figuratively. In a literal sense, for example, as the carriage gains al。titud。e to make it。s heavenly approach, a house seems as。 "A Sw。elling of the Ground" (18). Figuratively the poem may symbolize the three stages of life: "S。chool, where Children st。rove。" (9) may。 represent chi。ldhood; "Field。s of Gazing Grain" (11), maturit。y; and "Setting Sun" (12) old age. Viewing the progr。ession of these stages-life, to death, to eternity-as a continuum invests these isolated, often incomprehensible events with meaning. From her eternal perspective, th。e speaker comprehends that life, like the "Horses Heads" (23), leads "toward Eternity" (24).
Through her boundless amalgamation and progressive ordering of the temporal world with the spiritual univers。e, Dickinson dialectically shapes meaning from t。he limitations of life, allowing the reader momentarily to glimpse。 a universe in which the s。eemingly distinct and discontinuous stages of existence。 are holistically implica。ted and purposed.
[1.] Others who have written on Emily Dickins。on's r。esponses to death include Ruth Miller (The Poetry of Emily Dickinson [Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan U P, 1968])。; Robert Weisbuch Emily Dickinson's Poetry [Chicago, 111.: U of Chicago P, 1975]); Carol Anne Taylor ("Kierkegaard and the Ironic Voices of Emily Dickinson ," Journal of English and German Philology 77 : 569。-81); C。harles Anderson ( Emily Dickinson's Poetry: Stairway of Surprise [New Y。ork: Holt, Reinhart, 1960]); Sharon Cameron (Lyric Time (Baltimore: John Hopkins U P, 1979]); Brita Lindberg-Seyersted (The Voice of the Po。et: Aspects of Style in the Poetry of Emily Dickinson [Cambridge: Harvard U P, 1968]).
[2.] The theoretical foundation for aspects of。 this argument rests in part on the philo。sophies of such me