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 sort of diction does Emily Dickinson use in the the poem "Because I could not stop for Death--"?

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In the opening stanza of "Because I could not stop for Death," the most important word is arguably "Death." Throughout the poem, death is personified as a gentlemanly caller who takes a ride in a carriage with the speaker, toward her own death. The fact that death is personified in this poem perhaps makes it less mysterious, and more real, than it might otherwise be. This is appropriate because death is, to the speaker, at this time of her life (as she is about to die), a very real presence.

Throughout the poem, Dickinson also uses collective pronouns like "We" and "Us" to indicate how close the speaker is with death. This, in combination with the personification of death, suggests that death has a personal relationship with the speaker and perhaps also renders death less threatening and more normal. One possible meaning of the poem is that death is not something to be feared.

At the end of the second stanza, the word "Civility" is important. The speaker puts away her "labor and (her)...

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