Because I could not Stop Death

Modern critic, Bernhard Frank, says:

“The speaker, in correcting herself, may have come to understand that whereas the sun, depicting circular time, will keep revolving, her own journey is destined to come to an abrupt, irreversible halt.” (Bernhard Frank 712)

Another critic, Frost, said:

“For Emily Dickinson, death, God, and the eternities were regarded too conventionally, even lightly, by those around her, but her poetic stance and her themes–interpretations of mortal experience.” ( Carol Frost 712)

Both of these critics said the same thing in that Emily was extremely effected by time and things around her.

Another critic, Ian Fletcher, says:

“At the beginning of Dickinson’s poem we may believe, in accordance with our traditions and cultural preconceptions, that she shares this view. The first line, “Because I could not stop for Death-” might suggest that the poet is busy living her life and death’s arrival would not be convenient. Who would “stop for death”? – stop living in order to die?

Yet, the line is in the past tense (“I could not stop”), so already we can sense something unusual.

Get quality help now
Dr. Karlyna PhD
Verified writer

Proficient in: Criticism

4.7 (235)

“ Amazing writer! I am really satisfied with her work. An excellent price as well. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

The poet must be writing either as a dying or dead person whose normal life death has interrupted. Perhaps she can not stop in the sense she has no control over her life/destiny and is just doing rather meaningless activities in her life automatically. Or, she is just too busy to bother to think about death. (Here we have two senses of ‘stop’: ceasing of an activity and stopping moving.

Get to Know The Price Estimate For Your Paper
Number of pages
Email Invalid email

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Check writers' offers

You won’t be charged yet!

)” (Fletcher)

To me personally Because I could not Stop Death,was a very powerful poem. The way the sentences flowed made it easy to read. The way she connected that words were elegant and tasteful and the way she added a pause added a sense of suspense. I found her writing interesting.. My favorite phrase out of the entire poem was “Because I could not stop for Death – He kindly stopped for me –” it showed how she was not in control of the situation. The phrase showed that no matter how much she would resist death, it would still come for her. “We’re toward Eternity –” this was the last phrase of the poem. This line leaves a cliff hanger effect. You can tell she knows there is a after life but what after life will death take you? Emily’s life had many ups and many downs. She lived a life with death creeping around the corner and that is expressed in this poem.

Cite this page

Because I could not Stop Death. (2021, Sep 01). Retrieved from

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

get help with your assignment