What literary devices are used in the poem "Because I could not stop for Death"?

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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"Because I could not stop for Death" by Emily Dickinson contains multiple literary devices.  

One such device is personification.  Personification is giving humanlike qualities or characteristics to things that are not human. Dickinson does this is the opening stanza.  By capitalizing Death and then referring to it with the masculine pronoun "He," Dickinson is making death into a person, in this case, a man who is driving a carriage with the passenger "Immortality."  That's a second use of personification.   The third is when Dickinson tells her reader that the sun (he) passed the carriage and its riders.  

Rhythm is always a big part of Dickinson's poetry, and this poem is no different.  Her poetic rhythm is flawless.  If you know the tune to the opening sequence of "Gilligan's Island," you can sing this poem to that tune. 

Dickinson also uses alliteration, which is a repetition of a consonant sound.  In stanza two there is the labor/leisure line.  Stanza 3 has recess/ring, gazing/grain, and setting/sun.  Stanza 4 has gossamer/gown and tippet/tulle.  

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