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In analyzing Emily Dickinson's work within Fascicle 23, her relationship with death and dying is highlighted through her ways of writing about it in peaceful, hopeful, and solemn ways. Death, through Dickinson, is not a macabre subject, or one of disturbing lonely fascination. Though one of Dickinson's most renown reputations is for being a gothic and dark writer, her poems about death represent emotions that were not usually felt when writing about death. These poems were not meant to scare her readers, but to provide hope, and mystery around the ambiguity of death. "Because I could not stop for Death -" represents a speaker that is being visited by death, not in a dark and scary way, but with a calm and sincere description. Death is not portrayed as a dark and shrouded figure, but one of human emotion, and depth. These emotions and events that death is present in each poem were symbolized representations of Dickinson's fascination and curiosity of death, while also differed from the traditional thought of death as macabre or inherently religious and sad. "Because I could not stop for death -" analyzes a woman's journey through life, knowing that death is approaching, but describes death as a gentleman, varying from the typical foreboding death image in other writings. This essence of varying human emotion presented within "Because I could not stop for death -" connects to the other poems within the fascicle, like those of “He fought like those,” and “Fame to Myself, to justify,”. These poems within Fascicle 23 are all connected through different emotions surrounding death, with "Because I could not stop for death -", being the focal point of remorse and peace. All three poems included in Sheet 1, Fascicle 23, are connected by human emotions, instead of the feelings of fear or anxiety around death.


Utah State University

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English Language and Literature

War and Death in the Works of Emily Dickinson