In "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" what emotions or attitudes are suggested by each key image?

1 Answer | Add Yours

lusie0520's profile pic

lusie0520 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

"Because I Could Not Stop for Death" contains many key images designed to evoke emotions in the reader.   For example, in line 2, the author says, “He kindly stopped for me.”  This lets us know that death is kind, not harsh.  In the second stanza, the author says. “And I had put away My labor, and my leisure too, For his civility."  The attitude toward death seems to be that it is polite, and civil.  It creates in the reader the feeling that the subject is willing, and even grateful, for death.

The third stanza is particularly important because the narrator is describing images of life: "We passed the school, where children strove At recess, in the ring."  This is the moment when the narrator realizes she is leaving life behind.  The reader reacts to the image of children in the ring—youth, energy—a place everyone has been.  The author also mentions the setting sun in this stanza.  This shows the end of life.

In stanza four, “The dews grew quivering and chill,” the reader is meant to understand that death is upon the reader.  The idea of growing cold is meant to make the reader feel the passing from life to death.  The image of the gossamer gown and the tulle tippet are also important here, suggesting that she is growing less and less substantial and is setting foot elsewhere.

In stanza five, the image is a grave, "a house that seemed  A swelling of the ground; The roof was scarcely visible, The cornice but a mound."  It is a freshly dug grave, her grave, and the image is designed to make the reader feel sad for the life that has ended.

In stanza six, however, the narrator lets us know that she has been gone a very long time.  She does not seem upset or sad, rather her attitude is accepting.  "I first surmised the horses’ heads Were toward Eternity."

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,917 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question