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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

If you're familiar with hymns, you'll know they're usually written in rhyming quatrains and have a regular metrical pattern. Dickinson's quatrains (four-line stanzas) aren't perfectly rhymed, but t...

Speaker

The speaker is dead. But the even cooler thing is that we don't know this for sure until the last stanza. So the speaker is a ghost or spirit thinking back to the day of her death. She's actually p...

Setting

Well, the setting moves around a little because the speaker and Death are going for a ride in a carriage. It starts when Death picks up the speaker and they drive for a while through her town, past...

Sound Check

Hats off to Dickinson for the way this poem sounds. All those technical things we talked about in "Form and Meter" (meter, rhyme, anaphora, the dashes) really make for subtly-woven sound patterns....

What's Up With the Title?

"Because I could not stop for Death" is actually not the title of this poem. Dickinson didn't title any of her poems, because she never meant to publish them. In collections, sometimes this poem is...

Calling Card

Dickinson is no stranger to the topic of death. In fact, it's pretty safe to say she's got a corner on the market. An unsettling amount of her poems are either about dying, death, or what happens a...

Tough-O-Meter

You can probably leave the ice pick at home. The action in this poem is pretty straightforward. The real meat is the comparison of death to a date in a carriage ride, and the calm attitude of the s...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

There's nothing too steamy going on here, though some flirtation with Death is present. All the same, it's pretty tame.
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