Essay #1: Dickenson, “Because I Could Not” 565
As I read “Because I Could Not” by Emily Dickenson I was extremely confused because when I first read the title I said to myself “okay a confusing poem about sad love” but as I read the first stanza I said to myself “this has NOTHING to do with love, but yet still confusing” I tried breaking down each line, looking up unfamiliar words, and reading aloud about 10 times and still no clarity came to mind. Finally I read it once more to my roommate and BOOM! It hit me. The first stanza of “Because I Could Not” is about a journey to death. It’s describing the process of human life and how Dickenson finally encountered death. With the help of narrative codes and my procedures in breaking down the poem, I was able to understand “Because I Could Not” much more clearly than when I first read it.
The first line, “Because I could not stop for Death, (1)” really puzzled me as I began to read this poem. Then Dickenson says, “He kindly stopped for me, (2)” which personifies death. The third line states the word carriage, which is where Dickenson used a connotative code. As I read the poem and I went back to break down the fist stanza carriage didn’t seem to fit in as just a regular carriage or vehicle. Carriage means the kind of vehicle that people use to escort coffins to funerals, a hearse. In the first stanza another code being used is the antithetical code with the expressions “Death” and “Immortality. Both words are the only capitalized words besides the first words of the lines. I felt that Dickenson was trying to put an emphasis on these words by doing so. The antithetical code is obviously being used here since death means the end to life and immortality means an endless life, hence why they’re opposite. Also in this stanza another connotative code is used for “Immortality”. Since Dickenson and Death are in the carriage it seems like Immortality is just another person coming along for the ride.
In the second stanza,...