woman in repose floating through the air surrounded by ghosts

Because I could not stop for Death—

by Emily Dickinson

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Why does Death drive slowly in the journey with the speaker?

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Dickenson personifies Death in her poem entitled, "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" which many connote to the scary image of the Grimm Reaper who is holding a the iconic and threatening tool. Some may see it ironic that Dickenson portrays Death as someone nice because, "He kindly stopped for me-"(2). The second stanza starts right after the speaker gets into His carriage and they set off for "Immortality" (4). Most people see death as something that happens quickly when they aren't aware of it, but since the speakers says that s/he "had put away/ My labor and my leisure too" (6-7), this signifies that He was welcome and waited upon. Hence, when the two met, there was a pleasant atmosphere and not one of fear or pain. The fact that they drive away slowly together creates an atmosphere that is less frightening and more peaceful that what most would believe.

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