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What is the theme of "Because I could not stop for Death"?

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ehsanaziz | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 10, 2009 at 5:10 PM via web

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What is the theme of "Because I could not stop for Death"?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 10, 2009 at 7:42 PM (Answer #1)

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One of the strongest themes to arise out of Dickinson's poem is the embrace of the end force that is inevitably felt by all living creatures.  Dickinson creates a portrait of death which is not fearful or brutal, but rather one of calm comfort that is to visit everyone as their inevitable end is marked.  The opening lines confirm this:  "He kindly stopped for me."  The notion of characterizing death as "kindly" and gracious is a powerful reconceptualization as opposed to the standard gloomy notion.  At the same time, the vision offered through the poem is one of reflection and nostalgia, where death and the speaker visit school yards at recess, open fields, and engage in the process of thoughtful rumination on the nature of existence.  This is a vision of death that is not fearful, but rather receptive to what is awaiting all life.  In the process, a theme that arises is that one should not live their life in fear of death, but rather examine a life where there is some notion of happiness when the inevitability of the carriage "kindly" stops for all of us.

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renalawliet | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 19, 2012 at 12:27 AM (Answer #2)

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Theme: Life is linked to death and Death always accompanies us.

 

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crazynitin998 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted May 9, 2012 at 3:41 PM (Answer #3)

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we cannot escape from death

 

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mehtved | Student | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 3, 2012 at 3:02 AM (Answer #4)

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another theme is immortality.

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blackheart27 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted September 18, 2012 at 12:00 AM (Answer #5)

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we are never prepared for death, yet when it comes we must accept it peacefully.

like the way she wasnt prepared (hense he thin clothing) but she was never scared. she was at peace. she had forgotten her obligations.

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blackheart27 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted September 19, 2012 at 11:13 PM (Answer #6)

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i think main point is acceptance of death... we are not prepared but somehow we all know we're gonna die.

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karthikahm | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 25, 2012 at 2:16 PM (Answer #7)

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One should not fear death since it is the integral part of the endless cycle of nature.

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tubee | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted April 1, 2013 at 9:33 PM (Answer #8)

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One should not fear death as it is a part of our life.Hence we all know we will die one day wheather we are prepared or not.

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hannahsteno | Student, Grade 12 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 17, 2013 at 2:52 AM (Answer #9)

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We are all a part of a bigger cycle of life, and we must not fear death for it is an experience that we will all eventually go through.  This poem reminds me a lot of "Thanatopsis" by William Cullen Bryant, because both describe humans as being a part of the cycle of life and being one with nature.  Also, both poems discuss the idea that one must not fear death, and instead accept it into our lives and view death with a more optimistic approach.

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