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In the poem "Because I Could Not Stop for Death"by Emily Dickinson, what words have a...

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ellaaba | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 12, 2010 at 9:02 PM via web

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In the poem "Because I Could Not Stop for Death"by Emily Dickinson, what words have a connotative meaning?

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted September 12, 2010 at 9:26 PM (Answer #1)

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In the second line, the word, "kindly", has a positive connotation giving the impression that the poem is not going to look at death in a negative manner.  In the next four-line stanza, the words, "slowly", "no haste", "labor", "leisure", and "civility" all carry meaning.  The implication is that the narrator is in a peaceful existence where time is not measured.  The third stanza displays images more than single connotative words.  The image of children playing innocently, free of worry comprises the first two lines and the image of ripening fields being seen in the setting sun are the last two lines.  These are a contrast - the children playing gives the impression of happy, carefree life while the the other image gives the impression of a life that has been lived and is now at the end (setting sun).  The fourth stanza is a metaphor for a new grave.  The reader can infer that the grave is the narrator's and that the previous stanzas were the narrator's progression to that grave.  The last stanza indicates that much time has passed since the narrator died, but that time has little meaning now.  Throughout the poem, the impression is one of peacefulness and timelessness.  The title makes the implication that the narrator was busy in life and that death came unexpectedly, but the rest of the poem says that once dead, the narrator realizes that there was a great deal of life going on that she had not noticed while alive and now, she has eternity to realize that.

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