Because I could not stop for Death
Because I could not stop for Death
by Emily Dickinson
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The Horses

Symbol Analysis

…or, rather, their heads! The horses' heads are the 9th inning symbols, but they really hit a home run. OK, forgive the baseball comparison, but these horse heads do heavy-duty work as the closing symbol of the poem. But what exactly do they symbolize?

  • Lines 23-24: The speaker says the first hint that she was going to die was seeing the horses' heads (maybe even before she got in the carriage with Death). So what would make her feel that way? Well, first of all, there's a lot of room for "I had a feeling" in poetry. It's built on gut feelings, especially in Dickinson's poetry, but let's also think about what the image of a horse head looks like. Their heads are long and angled forward, perhaps like an arrow pushing through the barrier from life to death?