Because I could not stop for Death
…and the cold to follow. This might be the most obvious symbol in the poem. Dickinson is certainly not the first to use sunset as a symbol and foreshadowing of death. So she's in cheesy territory, but luckily Dickinson's a master and avoids cliché.
- Lines 12-13: The sun passes them, leaving the riders in spooky cold. Dickinson doesn't write it, but we can assume it's gotten dark too. Dark and cold certainly set the scene for death. What do you think it's like under the ground? So, we have to give Dickinson credit for using an age-old literary device – the sunset – and chucking the pastel-hued beach scene for something a little more original, and more chilling.
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