Theme of Immortality and Death in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry

Updated April 14, 2021

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Theme of Immortality and Death in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry essay

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Emily Dickinson lived in complete isolationism. Dickinson’s poetry was heavily influenced by the Metaphysical poets of seventeenth-century England, as well as her reading of the Book of Revelation and her upbringing in a Puritan New England town. The practice was seen in her poetry was by no means foreign to women’s daily tasks—sewing, and stitching together the material to clothe the person. However, is its other kinship. Her work was also the minister’s, and Preachers stitched together the pages of their sermons, a task they apparently undertook themselves. Emily Dickinson, was a calvinist. The calvinist approach to religion believed that men were sinful and most humans were doomed to hell.

There was only a small number who would be saved, and this could only be achieved by proclaiming his/her faith in Jesus. Emily Dickinson’s father was in the conservative party,running for a seat in the House of representatives and as it came out to be,Emily was also in the same party. Dickinson’s musical involvement and enthusiasm is expressed most abundantly in the sheet music that she collected. She also attending singing school where she learned to sing and compose, and she loved to attend concerts. Dickinson’s isolationism during her later years has been the object of much speculation. Scholars think that she suffered from conditions such as agoraphobia, depression and/or anxiety, or may have been withdrawn due to her responsibilities as guardian of her sick mother.

For the first and only time in her life, Dickinson traveled outside the borders of her home state. Throughout her life, Emily her mother and sister,spent three weeks in Washington, D.C. visiting her Congressman father; she then spent two weeks with relatives in Philadelphia. After their return, Dickinson’s mother falls ill. Living a life of simplicity and seclusion, she wrote poetry of great power; questioning the nature of immortality and death. Her different lifestyle created an atmosphere; often romanticised, but ultimately Emily is remembered for her unique poetry.

Through her life experiences, the poet became intimate with death. Because of all the disease and epidemics in her lifetime, many of her loved ones passed away. Emily becomed to understand that death is such a bad thing and is something sweet instead of terrifying. Death, at the time, was something people were afraid of,and was very common back then, Illnesses was spreading and death was something regular. In the 1800s, disease affected almost everyone There was no immunity, and few medical remedies against imported diseases such as tuberculosis, smallpox, measles, chickenpox, Bright’s’ disease, whooping cough and influenza, among others.

‘Because I Could Not Stop for Death’ was written around 1863 in Amherst, Massachusetts. Some inventions that were made in the 1800’s were the telephone, in 1876. The telephone quickly revolutionized the way people communicated both at work and with friends.On October 17, 1888, Thomas Edison submitted his ideas for a motion picture device that would record and produce objects in motion. What moved people at that time was economy. Many Americans moved to Massachusetts to work in mines,and to become railroad workers, and many seeked religious freedom.

The poem’s literary movement was in the eighteenth century. The movement underlined intense emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as apprehension, horror and terror, especially that experienced in confronting the new categories of the sublimity and beauty of nature. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature. The poem fits perfectly with this era because it finds the sweetness in something that many people could disagree. It finds love in something so unique and in other words, peculiar. ‘Because I Could Not Stop for Death,’ portrays a deeper meaning than just a title for a poem.

The person continued meanwhile death was upon it’s back throughout. This strikes a balance between ideas because it shows how someone can look at death is such a sweet way while on the other hand, we may see death as something unpleasant and displeasing to think about. A very used symbol throughout the poem is death. Emily gives life to death which we know isn’t a person or a animal but more than something bigger than all of us. We see how she makes Death a gentlemen. There is a repetition in the setting, such as death, because as the setting shifts, we find out the place in the poem is from long ago and that the speaker is really telling this story long into the afterlife. So, you could say the whole poem takes place in the afterlife, but the memory of the ride has a different setting altogether.

There is also repetition of syntax because Dickinson did form a complete grammatical structure throughout the whole of the poem. Her unique punctuation and capitalization of somewhat passive verbs created a poem that forced readers to stop and contemplate the overall meaning and pause to admire the grammatical structure throughout. Perhaps the most notable way in which Dickinson places significant or emotions in the first and last lines of the poems is when she ends the poem with a dash. The dash seems to indicate that the poem is never ending, just as eternity is never ending, thus showing Dickinson’s form helping the reader begin to comprehend the poem.

Emily intends to leave the poem with dashes to signify that the poem is never going to end and thus showing how we as people can live forever. The speaker of the poem is female and it is in first person. The voice is universal because death is something we all have to face one day and this poem is just showing us the afterlife of the living. In this poem, we can tell that the poet is not,in fact, concealing information from us,but rather telling us how she feels. The poet does leave out facts for us because Emily wants us to think beyond life and imagine what would it be in the afterlife. The elements that are necessary to understand when reading this poem is word choice the poet uses to get her message through, she uses specific words and tone to make you understand what she is feeling.

The mood of the poem is innocent and comfort,due to the fact, the poet wants us to feel that it is safe to go to the afterlife. The poem is somewhat melancholy but yet peaceful. It shows us a side where it is sad to die but yet there’s a peace that comes with it. In line 5, Emily begins death’s journey with a slow, forward movement, which can be seen as she writes, “We slowly drove-He knew no haste.” Then we see the poem seems to get faster as life goes through its course. In lines 17 and 18, however, the poem seems to slow down as Emily writes, “We paused before a House that seemed, A Swelling of the Ground-.” The reader is given a feeling of life slowly ending. The tone of the poem begins steady and casual,as she agrees to join death. However, the tone shifts and becomes more darker and chilling when she and death passed through a hose, which is fact a grave, that she realize what death is.

The theme is immortality because the poet explores the idea of a perpetual life and how there is life after death. This shows us why the poet is so calm about death and how life doesn’t end when you die but in the contrary, get closer to eternal life. The poet is merely giving her opinion in what she thinks about death. She is showing us, through the poem,her thoughts and feeling about death and afterlife. The poem, Dickinson’s speaker is communicating from beyond the grave, describing her journey with Death, personified, from life to afterlife. In the opening stanza, the speaker is too busy for Death,“Because I could not stop for Death—“, so Death—“kindly”—takes the time to do what she cannot, and stops for her.

This emphasizes the theme by personification because it’s giving life to something we cannot see. The rhythm of this poem dances like music because it gives the poem unity and makes easier to read. This poem could be seen as diary because she explains her thoughts,feelings,and opinions in such detail. The rhythm relates to the theme of the poem because both have rhyming quatrains and a regular metrical pattern . The rhythm decreases by the end because it shows the end of life and so as the poem. The poem is iambic tetrameter. Dickinson’s imagery and effective use of the basic elements of poetry has produced a poem with different meanings. Her concept of death and how she portrays it exposes the reader’s mind to a variety of ideas about death.

Theme of Immortality and Death in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry essay

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Theme of Immortality and Death in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry. (2021, Apr 14). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/theme-of-immortality-and-death-in-emily-dickinsons-poetry/


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