Why might the speaker not fear death in Emily Dickinson's poem "Because I Could Not Stop for Death"?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The speaker in Emily Dickinson's poem, Because I Could Not Stop for Death, does not fear death for a couple reasons.

First, the fact that "He (Death) kindly stopped for me" sets up the fact that Death seems to be accommodating. Given that there are times where life simply happens too fast to be concerned with certain things, like death, the fact that Death stopped for the speaker could speak to the fact that the speaker feels accommodated by Death.

Second, in the second stanza, the speaker states her (assumptive based upon Dickinson's gender) ease with death.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We, as humans, feel relaxed by those who put us at ease. Death most certainly puts the speaker at ease based upon the fact that she "put away" her labor and leisure in order to match "his" civility.

Lastly, the fact that the carriage passes the children at the school could have put the speaker at ease as well. If the carriage would have stopped at the school, the speaker's anxiety level most certainly would have risen. The fact that the carriage simply left the innocent alone, again, puts the speaker at ease.

Based upon these reasons, it seems that the speaker does not need to fear Death. Death seems to be in no hurry and illustrates that fact by the pace of the poem and the carriage.

brilliantghada's profile pic

brilliantghada | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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The speaker in Because I could not stop for death,is not afraid of death for that the speaker was dead for a long time ,so she used it, another thing that the speaker had no choice but to accept death , it is not up to us when we die.also,death was a gentleman who acts in  civility ,so she was totally submissive to it . 

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