Because I Could Not Stop for Death Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Because I Could Not Stop for Death Deck (27)
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1
Q

Because I Could Not Stop For Death

A

Emily Dickinson

Published posthumously

2
Q

Emily Dickinson

A

1830-1886, Suffered from ill-health and depression
Spent much of adult life caring for her chronically ill mother, wrote poetry in secret
Consistant themes of the ‘deepening menace’ of death, then immortality, one followed on by the other without the intervention of guilt
Praised for use of structure and syntax, punctuation, unconventional capitalisation and lineation

3
Q

Form and structure

A

Ballad stanza
Alternating tetrameter and tri-meter
Rhyming second and fourth lines in quatrains
This is a melodic form seen in gyms and folk songs
Most of Dickinson’s poems fit with the tune of The Yellow Rose of Texas

4
Q

Themes

A

Death
Immortality
Eternity/Time

5
Q

Immortality

A

Immortality is employed ironically, not to suggest everlasting life, but everlasting death

6
Q

Death

A

33 of Dickinson’s acquaintances die between 1851-1854
Personified
Attempts to visualise a fearlessness for death, devoid of the ubiquitous grim-reaper
Capitalisation
Use of personal pronoun

7
Q

Eternity/Time

A

Life is short and Death is long - Never ending

Viewed from eternity as a fond memory

8
Q

Speaker

A

Deceased speaker used to recount the memory of the journey from life, beyond death and on to eternity

9
Q

Opening:

Because I could not stop for death

A

The subordinating conjunction ‘Because’ provides an idea of being interrupted
Provides an explanation
‘I could not stop for death’

10
Q

“Slowly drove”

A

Internal rhyming
followed by insistent dash
Punctuation, Lexis and sound to replicate time passing
Open vowel sounds literally slow the speaker down

11
Q

Idiosyncratic use of dashes

A

Initially they serve to cause the reader an idea of the interruption
However they are also used to make small corrections
“Just ourselves - And immortality”

12
Q

“We passed..

We passed”

A

Anaphora carries the reader forward, whilst simultaneously causing us to look back
The carriage occupants are not merely passing a motley collection of scenes, they are passing out of life—reaching the high afternoon of life, or maturity.

13
Q

Stanza 3

A

Where the journey starts to become difficult
This is highlighted by change in rhythm
Conflict in the lines and shift of tone

14
Q

“Children strove”

A

Children struggling vigorously are ignorant to the surmise of death

15
Q

“Children strove” –> “Fields of Grazing Grain”

A

Contrast
Grain represents maturity
There is intimation of harvest and perhaps, in its gaze, nature’s indifference to a universal process

16
Q

“Setting Sun”

A

Sibilant metaphor for death
followed by a hyphen serving as a pause for correction
“He passed us”
Again personal pronoun personifying death

17
Q

“Dews Drew”

A

Change of tone and mood
internal rhyme
suggests the sinister action of cold seeping into the clothing of the persona
Warmth of the sun no longer felt, as its set

18
Q

“For only Gossamer, my gown -

My Tippet - Only Tulle -“

A

Very thin gown
paradoxically inappropriately dress for the cold afterlife
19th century readers would associate a ‘Tippet’ with the cold, as usually made from fur
Ironically this one is “Tulle”
Overall this image suggest the speaker’s regret or recognition that they were unprepared

19
Q

Stanza 4

A

Switches the iambic ti-meter 1st & 4th line
Iambic tetrameter 2nd & 3rd lines
Coinsides with the change in mood/tone

20
Q

“We pause”

A

Contrasts the passing, however it is not the final destination as it’s just a “pause” not an end
Pause allows reader to take in the details of the resting place

21
Q

“A House that seemed

A Swelling of the Ground - “

A

Very gothic image

Suggestions of a grave and a burial

22
Q

“of the Ground -

in the Ground -“

A

The repetition of ‘ground’ as a substitution for alternate half-rhyme seen in the previous stanza, makes the image more emphatic and emotive

23
Q

“Since then - ‘tis Centuries”

A

Final stanza provides paradoxical, and surprising, revelation that this experience is recounted after Centruries

24
Q

“‘tis Centruries - and yet

Feels shorter than the Day”

A

Therefore, from ‘Eternity’, itself an immeasurable concept, the speaker suggest the brevity of existence

25
Q

Dickinson and the predictability of life

A

Through the use of time and the central metaphor of the journey with Death, Dickinson uses a uniform quatrain structure to perhaps suggest the predictability of life, diced by events common to all of us leading, eventually to death

26
Q

Changes in the metre

A

When the metre is regular, things are suggested as simply passing from on to the next. However when the speaker come to realise something, there is a shift in the rhythm
For example in the last line when there is a change from Iambic to trochaic provision a contrast between what has been predictable and knowable

27
Q

Dickinson and religion

A

The fact that the persona can comment from this endless moment, “Centuries” later, proves her religious beliefs in life after death, when mortal souls become immortal, retaining their conscious thoughtfulness