Because I could not stop for Death— Questions and Answers
by Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for Death— book cover
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What does the last stanza describe?

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Aliyah Quitzon eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Emily Dickinson's poem, "Because I could not stop for Death," describes how death comes for us whether we are ready or not. In this poem, the speaker discusses how unprepared she was for death and how she wasn't even thinking about it, when it came upon her. The last stanza when the speaker says that "tis Centuries--and yet Feels shorter than the day I First surmised the Horses' Heads Were toward Eternity," addresses how quickly time goes by without people realizing it. For this speaker, who is picked up in a carriage by a personified Death, she recognizes that while it may seem like centuries since Death came for her, it felt shorter than a single day. By mentioning time in the final stanza, the author emphasizes the importance of realizing that life is short and before one knows it, he or she could be headed toward eternity (or death). Sometimes people may not even realize it, like the speaker in this poem.



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