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Because I could not stop for death-interpretaion
Posted by: ryan (199.17.205.---)
Date: April 04, 2000 10:30PM

I need some help Interpreting the poem\"Because I Could Not Stop for Death\".
If anyone knows a good website that would be great. I am not good at interpreting poetry so any help I can get would be appreciated.
Thank You
Ryan


RE: Because I could not stop for death-interpretai
Posted by: dezark (---.la.navipath.net)
Date: April 05, 2000 12:40AM

he was in rush ///////////////////////duh


RE: Because I could not stop for death-interpretai
Posted by: Linda (---.resnet.ucla.edu)
Date: April 05, 2000 07:59PM

what do you mean he was in a rush? are you serious?


RE: Because I could not stop for death-interpretai
Posted by: Les Gartner (---.s363.tnt1.blb.md.dialup.rcn.com)
Date: April 09, 2000 12:18AM

Linda,

I believe that Dezark is being facetious. That is: Why couldn\'t he stop for death? Well, perhaps because he was in a rush. I think Dezark is suggesting (and I hope I am not putting words into your mouth, Dezark) that Ryan may wish to reconsider his request to have others do his work for him. Maybe if Ryan did a little reading and interpretation on his own and then came to this group for advice...

Les Gartner


RE: Because I could not stop for death-interpretai
Posted by: Heather (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: April 09, 2000 04:51PM



I understand your concern for Ryan not thinking for himself, but I came to this site for legitimate help and interpretation of that poem, and found your reply quite distasteful and rude.

Heather


RE: Because I could not stop for death-interpretai
Posted by: Les Gartner (---.s262.tnt1.blb.md.dialup.rcn.com)
Date: April 09, 2000 08:31PM

It appears that I have misinterpreted Ryan\'s request which was:

\"I need some help Interpreting the poem\\"Because I Could Not Stop for Death\\".
If anyone knows a good website that would be great. I am not good at interpreting poetry so any help I can get would be
appreciated.
Thank You
Ryan\"

Reading this request implied to me that Ryan has not done an interpretation of the poem. I assumed that had he done so, he would have given us a synopsis of his ideas and asked for suggestions, deletions, or additions. Of course, the absence of a synopsis does not mean that Ryan has not done his work, and since he informed me that he has indeed done so, Ryan, I offer you my sincere apologies.

Heather, I do not know how I may have offended you by my assumptions concerning Ryan, but if I did, I extend my offer of an apology to you, also.

Sincerely,

Les Gartner


RE: Because I could not stop for death-interpretai
Posted by: Brandon (128.163.245.---)
Date: April 10, 2000 01:30PM

In this poem , it personifies death as a kindly gentlemen taking a lady for a ride and on their journey they pass the vitality of life en route to eternity.


RE: Because I could not stop for death-interpretai
Posted by: jennifer smith (---.tnt5.plano.tx.da.uu.net)
Date: April 10, 2000 11:24PM

I also need help analysing this poem. PLEASE help.


RE: Because I could not stop for death-interpretai
Posted by: Les Gartner (---.s401.tnt2.blb.md.dialup.rcn.com)
Date: April 11, 2000 10:51PM

Dear Ryan, Heather, and Jennifer:

Many of Emily Dickinson\'s poems deal with very large themes, such as honor, love, nature, beauty, and as in this case, death and immortality. Her language is deceptively simple as are her rhyme schemes and her images, yet there is depth of meaning within meaning that is very difficult to plumb. If you examine her words they are uncomplicated, modest, everyday words that even a young child can understand, yet the way they are put together belies their simplicity.

Before going on with the interpretation, I have to offer a warning, I am a scientist who enjoys reading literature (including poetry) so my comments are not buttressed by a professional background nor are they based on readings in the field of criticism. What you are about to read is the opinion of an unqualified individual who really has no right to have an opinion in a field that is outside his area of expertise. Caveat lector!


Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;

Dickinson is indicating that the subject of this poem died suddenly and probably at a relatively young and productive age while (s)he was full of energy and vigor. This person was actively pursuing the pleasures and business of life and was so filled with vitality that (s)he had no idea that death was near.

The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

Death is a lonely event, and although it affects the living, people die by themselves and for the living life goes on. The dead discard their bodies and their souls attain immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,

Death is inexorable, relentless, and inescapable and because of that \"he knew no haste.\"

And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,

The above two lines are a reaffirmation of the first two. Death stopped the subject of the poem in the prime of her/his life.

For his civility.

This unexpected, sudden, and painless (?) death is almost as if Death were kind to this person.

We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Dickinson permits the dying woman/man to see her/his life pass before her/his eyes from childhood (school) through growth (gazing grain) and the end of life (setting sun). But she again tells us that the person has died young (lesson scarcely done).

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Obviously we\'re looking at the dead person\'s grave.

Since then \'t is centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses\' heads
Were toward eternity.

And now we realize that this is a very old graveyard and also learn that the fact of dying was a shock to the soul, when he \"first surmised the horses\' heads/ were toward eternity.\" It was a jolt that seemed to last for centuries even though it was a realization that lasted but a moment (during which the person\'s life passed before her/his eyes: a revisiting of the contemplation of the third stanza).

I hope this helps.

Les Gartner




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