Emily Dickinson compared to Robert FrostI would like to compare Dickinson's "Because I could not stop for Death" with Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a snowy night."  I need to compare ONE aspect of...

Emily Dickinson compared to Robert Frost

I would like to compare Dickinson's "Because I could not stop for Death" with Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a snowy night."  I need to compare ONE aspect of their styles or themes.  Not looking for anyone to write a paper for me, I just need a starting point please.  Thank you.

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both "Because I could not stop for Death" and "Stopping by a Woods on a Snowy Evening" share imagery that is associated with death.

In Emily Dickinson's poem, the speaker is so preoccupied with living that she fails to realize that her life is near its end. Therefore, Death must "kindly" stop for her. But before she reaches her tomb, the speaker watches the scenery outside the carriage, which represents the passage of time.

There is the school where children are at play; then, she and the driver pass the "fields of grazing grain," which indicate the end of the summer of her life. After this experience, the speaker feels "quivering and chill" drops of dew upon her gossamer gown, images that suggest the chills of death. Finally, she arrives at "A Swelling of the Ground," an image that suggests her tomb. Throughout this journey the "Horses Heads Were Toward Eternity"; that is, they are acquainted with the path of life.

Robert Frost's poem also suggests the theme of Death with its imagery. Initially, the speaker seems to be off the proverbial "beaten path" as his horse "must think it queer" that he is in such a place. The animal of habit "gives his harness bells a shake," words containing sound and visual imagery that communicate his confusion (his head shakes) at his owner's decision to stop in these woods. But like Dickinson's speaker, Frost's speaker must also heed the call of duty and, eventually, death. Therefore, he turns from "easy wind and downy flake"—visual imagery that represents the freedom of the spirit—to the duties of life ("miles to go...") and, eventually, of death in which he will "sleep."

booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Comparing "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening"  by Robert Frost, and "Because I could not stop for Death" by Emily Dickinson, have some similarities and differences in terms of style.

Both poems are written in four-line stanzas. The meter of both poems is rhythmic and lilting. Each poem seem to follow a contrived pattern of beats (but the patterns are different).

The last way in which the poems are the same is that each author uses personification.

Frost personifies the horse—

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near

and Dickinson personifies Death—

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;

However, the poems are dissimilar in several ways.

Frost's poem has a clear rhyme scheme of AABA.

Dickinson's poem does not have clear rhyme at all. Some lines might have end rhyme following an ABCB pattern, but there is only one instance of true rhyme ("ground" / "mound"), and perhaps near rhyme for most of the remaining stanzas (though it is a far stretch, I think, with "ring" and "sun").

The meter in Frost's poem is distinct, with four stressed beats per line. Dickinson's poem is different than Frost's. The pattern she creates for the most part is comprised of alternating lines of four beats, then three beats, returning to four beats again.





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