Are there instances of personification? Overstatement? Understatement? Puns?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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"Because I could not stop for Death—" by Emily Dickinson uses many different literary devices or figures of speech.

The entire poem uses the literary device of personification by portraying Death as a coachman taking the speaker on a journey. This device works as an extended metaphor, and determines the structure of the poem. The stages of life are also personified in the poem, with the beginning of the journey representing birth. Next, the narrator sees children and a school which personify the next stage of life, childhood and schooling. The narrator wearing as a person dressed in a thin garment of gossamer personifies the soul wearing the ephemeral body. Next come symbols of maturity, and finally Eternity, the eventual goal.

The description of a lifetime in the poem is an example of both overstatement and understatement; the length of a human life seems both "Centuries – and yet Feels shorter than the Day". 


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