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"Because I Could Not Stop For Death

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by

Leticia Ortega

on 29 October 2015

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Transcript of "Because I Could Not Stop For Death

Poem Explication Stanza #'s 1-2
Emily Dickinson's Life (1830 - 1886)
•She lived in Amherst, Massachusetts
•Her childhood was filled with schooling,reading, religious activities, and several key encounters with poetry.
•Her grandfather is the founder of Amherst Academy
•She read Jane Eyre and many Shakespeare classics
•Between the ages of 25-35 she wrote 1100 poems
•She was described as always being lonely
•She died of Bright's Disease
Dickinson's Times
•Although Dickinson was a 19th century poet, her work did not become famous until the 20th century.
•Most of her poetry came between the years of 1858-1865, which just happen to overlap the civil war.
•Her poetry was mainly driven by the feelings that the civil war brought up; pain, grief, nature, and love.

"Because I Could not Stop for Death"

Dickinson's Traditions
Emily's Fun Facts and Prominent Works
"Because I Could Not Stop For Death"
-Emily Dickinson

By:
Leticia Ortega
Alondra Flores
Jaclyn Angle
Kylee Thomas

-Emily Dickinson
Books that Emily Dickinson is known to have read
Dickinson's time period was known as the writing years because people would write to loved ones in the war, as well as write about how the war affected them and their families.
•Emily studied at the Amherst Academy for 7 years
•She later attended Mount Holyoke Female seminary


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 –

Stanza 2
Stanza 1
Stanza 3
-Vivid image of the kids playing which applies to the childhood stage
-'Fields of Gazing Grain" means the stage of adulthood
-Sun is symbolic of...
-Repetition
Poem Explication Stanza #'s 5-6
William Austin Dickinson
Lavinia Norcross Dickinson
Brother
Sister
- Line 1 expresses how the speaker has
no choice but to be taken by the
personified "Death".
-The theme, which is the calm acceptance
of death, is established in this
stanza by calling death "kind".
-The speaker doesn't think of death as a bad thing, but rather as a new beginning leading her to the new life that is immortality.
-Death is moving "with no haste", therefore moving at a rather slow pace. There is really no hurry for the speaker to die.
-In lines 6-7 the speaker tells how they have given up work and free time, along with the worry of these things.
-In line 8 the speaker expresses how they have given these things up for Death's "civility", meaning she has done this for him.
Fun/Unusual Facts you wouldn't know about Emily Dickinson
-Her nicknames included: "Queen Recluse", "Partially cracked
Poetess", and "The Myth".
-She was not a fan of her parents. She described her father, Edward Dickinson as an emotionally distant man. Her mother struggled because she was recovering from a mental breakdown.
-She was a big flirt. In many letters it explains that she experienced moments of "feverish passion with a mystery man." She also had love with her father's good friend, the widower Judge Otis Lord of Salem.
-Her father served for a time in the House of
Representatives.
-After her death her sister found 1000 poems in Emily's bureau. In 1955, a total of 1800 poems were published.
•Dickinson lived in an age defined by traditional Christian beliefs
•She grew up in a Calvinist (a major branch of Protestantism religion) household and had to attend religious services with her family at their village meetinghouse regularly (ministers were regular guest at her house)
•Dickinson's father joined the Great Revival and Emily looked at it with skepticism


•Although her family was incredibly religious, she did not join the church (not to be defiant but to stay true to herself).
•Some of her poetry portrays her doubtful and agnostic thoughts on God
Poem Explication Stanza #'s 3-4
Stanza 5
lines 17-18
•by the the time readers ave reached this part of the poem, they can predict that the speaker is going to die
•"Death is leading the speaker to a burial spot and the speaker seems to be at ease and calm about it
• Dickinson uses a "House" to represent the place of burial and the "Swelling of Ground" to represent freshly buried bodies
Lines 19-20
•throughout lines 19-20 the speaker continues to describe the burial house
•explaining the cornice, which is the highest part of a house, but in this case it is in the ground
•the speaker for sure now seems to know about the grave and proceeds to stay calm and accepts it even though she knows there is no going back

Stanza 6
Lines 21-22
•at this point into the poem we can now assume that this occurred centuries ago which means the speaker has been dead the entire time
• "Feels shorter than the day" means the speaker expresses how this memory remains vivid in her thoughts
Lines 23-24
•the final lines expresses the first time the speaker encounters the carriage
•Dickinson points out the horses much more than any other stanza (the horses signify her journey to the afterlife)
•Dickinson ends the poem with the horses proceeding to move foward towards something, in this case it would be eternity
Emily Dickinson's bible, presented by her father Edward in 1844
Dickinson's First Congregational Church of Amherst
Section of one of Emily's hand written poems.
Her prominent works include:
-Hope is the thing with Feathers
-Because I could not stop for death
-Behind me dips Eternity
-The only news I know
Emily started copying her poems once they started to become more popular and appear in newspapers.
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 –
Stanza 4
-She shifts her place when she makes a transition about them passing the sun, to the sun passing them. She is now apart of the land. She suggests this as maybe a feeling of death.
-She describes using imagery that the air around her was "quivering and chill." The cold is often associated with death.
-The clothes she is wearing is lightweight and not protective for her throughout her journey. This shows that she is unprepared. This stanza also reflects back on the beginning line that this is not her choice and she was not planning this trip with Death.
Full transcript