Emily Dickinson

"Because I Could Not Stop for Death - "

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Because I Could Not Stop for Death -

Because I could not stop for Death – He kindly stopped for me –

The Carriage held but just Ourselves – And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste

And I had put away My labor and my leisure too,

For His Civility –

We passed the School,

where Children strove At Recess – in the Ring –

We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –

We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed us –

The Dews drew quivering and chill –

For only Gossamer, my Gown –

My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed

A Swelling of the Ground –

The Roof was scarcely visible –

The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – ‘tis Centuries –

and yet Feels shorter than the Day

I first surmised the Horses’ Heads

Were toward Eternity –

Poem Explication

Explore the possible meanings of the poem.

Length: 1 paragraph per stanza + conclusion.

(If your poem is 3 stanzas, your explication will be 4 paragraphs).

Discuss the possible meanings within each stanza of your assigned poem. Conclusion will discuss the theme of the poem as a whole.


Poem as reflection of Poet's life.

How may the events of the poet's life have inspired the poem? Research the poet's life, and directly connect his/her life to specific lines in the poem (in "quotation marks"). Ask yourself, how is this line a reflection of his/her life?

Length: 3 paragraphs


-Connections (connect 3 different life events to 3 different lines)


You are NOT to just write a biography of the poet's life.


Emily Dickinson was obsessed with the thought of death. She often doubted the existence of an after-life. In her poem she writes, "There interposed a fly . . . between the light and me . . . and then I could not see to see." Instead of seeing the light, she sees an unsightly fly, symbolizing the insignificance of death.


Write Your Own Poem

Write your own poem using your assigned poem as inspiration. You must include:

  • 1 metaphor
  • 1 Simile
  • 1 symbol
  • 1 personification
  • Title
  • at least 10 lines