Does it indirectly reveal any attitudes or emotions?

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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We can infer some attitudes and emotions from Dickinson's famous poem, the attitudes and emotions of the narrator, which are likely to be those of Dickinson herself, although we know very little of her otherwise, since she led a reclusive and private life, and I do think that most if not all of her poems were not published until after her death.  We can see attitudes about life, death, and afterlife, though, just in the text of this poem.

We see that the narrator's attitude toward life was to live it to the fullest, which we can see in the very first lines of the poem:

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me – (1-2)
She has been too busy with "labor" (7) and "leisure" (7) to stop, and we do not get the sense that this is someone old or ill, someone who is tired and ready to let go.  This is a narrator who sees death as an interruption, not to be welcomed.  She has a full appreciation for life, the children, the farm fields, and the sun setting.  On this ride, which is a ride in a hearse to the cemetery, with her dressed in her burial shroud, she is bidding farewell to the beauty and riches of life, which are no longer to be hers.  Even today, sometimes a hearse, at the request of the family, will drive by the home of the deceased or a favorite spot of the deceased, a final "farewell." 
 
We also know that the narrator does believe in an afterlife, "Immortality"(4) as an entity and "Eternity" (24) as a place.  It is an interesting distinction to consider, that these are different, immortality and eternity.  Because Dickinson was a poet, perhaps for her immortality was the idea that she would live on in her words, a sort of being that would endure, as opposed to the place she was headed.  She had no children to be a form of immortality for her, but she left behind her an enormous body of work, one that has given her immortality, as we sit here today reading and contemplating her words.  We get the sense that time in eternity is perceived differently than time we live, looking at the final verse in the poem:
 
Since then – 'tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Were toward Eternity –  (21-24)
Thus, even the narrator's journey in the hearse felt as though it was slow and drawn out, that last journey above the ground, the afterlife feels as though it has gone by very quickly. 
 
So, we can see a narrator who loves life, believes in living it to the fullest, who sees death as an interruption, not something to be embraced.  We also see that the narrator does believe in an afterlife of some sort and that immortality is an essence that can live on in.  We do know that Dickinson lost many family members and friends before their time, and her personal life is very likely to have formed her beliefs and attitudes toward life and death.   
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