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Because I could not stop for Death

Because I could not stop for Death


by Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for Death Theme of Mortality

Mortality is probably the major theme in this poem. It's all about the speaker's attitude toward her death and what the actual day of her death was like. Dickinson paints a picture of the day that doesn't seem too far from the ordinary (that is, if you're used to having a guy named Death take you out on dates). The speaker isn't scared of death at all, and seems to accept it.

Questions About Mortality

  1. Why couldn't the speaker stop for Death? What makes her incapable and him capable of stopping?
  2. Why do you think the speaker is so willing to die? What kind of person is ready to die?
  3. How did you feel when you read the first stanza? How did you think the rest of the poem would turn out? Were your expectations correct?
  4. How long do you think the carriage ride takes? What clues does the poem give you?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The speaker isn't really relaxed about her experience with Death; she's terrified.

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