Bryant Vs Dickinson Emily Dickinson presents death in the poem “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” through the use of personification and the use of extended metaphor. William Cullen Bryant presents death through the use of the analogies in the poem “Thanatopsis.” Although each poet presents death differently, the meanings are similar. In “Thanatopsis, ” Bryant influences the reader to accept death as all living things’ fate. Bryant explains death by nature’s laws and the fact that nature’s creatures must abide by these laws. In lines 26-28, Bryant explains how an individual must abide by these laws and surrender to the earth that nourished the living.
“To be a brother to the insensible rock and to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain turns with his share, and treads upon.” (Bryant; 26/28). Through one’s fear of consciousness of time in our lives, Bryant tries to give the reader advice that one must truly accept their life and it’s mortality. “Because I Could Not Stop for Death,” Dickinson influences the reader that death is a courteous gentleman instead of a terrifying figure and that sooner or later the gentleman will come to take one’s life. Many people aren’t willing to stop for death, but are taken away. In the poem, the poet puts away concerns of work and leisure. This is a reminder that death is the end of life and energy. The poet rides in a carriage with Death and immortality.
During the journey, pleasant scenes of the poet’s past are passed. Once the carriage passed the setting sun suggests the inevitable end of mortal time. Beyond the sun, the dark earth and dew send chills. This is the final transformation of life to death. The carriage becomes a hearse, and the poet is taken to her grave that is a vacant house of her past.
There the poet lives in “eternity” with God where centuries feel shorter than a single day in life. Dickinson showed Death as a suitor and the journey of death in her imagination, one would wonder if she lived up to her own poem. Death is the theme of both “Thanatopsis” and of “Because I Could Not Stop for Death.” Although death is presented differently in both poems, the meanings of death are quite similar. When Dickinson went on the journey through her past or in Bryant’s words, “All that breathe will share thy destiny.” (Bryant; 60/61), the same awareness of time that ties us to the past also binds us to the future. Also, Dickinson and Bryant believe consciousness cannot feel itself without the world that gave it being. Though Bryant was Romantic and Dickinson was Transcendentalism, both viewed death as part of the circle of life and that unlike life, the cycle is immortal.
Death. No one knows exactly what happens, no one knows exactly when it will happen. Only one’s imagination can come up with a theory. Emily Dickinson and William Cullen Bryant used their beliefs, religion, imagination, and their talented writing skills to voice their opinion. The reason of these poems is to release the reader’s fear of death. Death is the fate of everyone, whether it’s God’s will or nature’s, the sun will set on everyone, but not everyone will cast an impressionable shadow. ——————————————— Thanatopsis William Cullen Bryant To him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language; for his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness, and a smile And eloquence of beauty, and she glides 5 Into his darker musing, with a mild And healing sympathy, that steals away Their sharpness ere he is aware. When thoughts Of the last bitter hour come like a blight Over thy spirit, and sad images 10 Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, And breathless darkness, and the narrow house, Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart- Go forth, under the open sky, and list To Nature’s teachings, while from all around- 15 Earth and her waters, and the depths of air- Comes a still voice- Yet a few days, and thee The all-beholding sun shall see no more In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground, Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears, 20 Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist Thy Image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim The growth, to be resolved to earth again, And, lost each human trace, surrendering up Thine individual being, shalt thou go 25 To mix forever with the elements, To be a brother to the insensible rock And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain Turns with his share, and treads upon.
The oak Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mold. 30 Yet not to thine eternal resting-place Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down With patriarchs of the infant world-with kings, The powerful of the earth-the wise, the good, 35 Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past, All in one mighty sepulcher. The hills Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun, the vales Stretching in pensive quietness between; The venerable woods-rivers that move 40 In majesty, and the complaining brooks That make the meadows green; and, poured round all, Old Ocean’s gray and melancholy waste- Are but the solemn decorations all Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun, 45 The planets, all the infinite host of heaven, Are shining on the sad abodes of death, Through the still lapse of ages.
All that tread The globe are but a handful to the tribes That slumber in its bosom.-Take the wings 50 Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness, Or lose thyself in the continuous woods Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound, Save his own dashings-yet the dead are there: And millions in those solitudes, since first 55 The flight of years began, have laid them down In their last sleep-the dead reign there alone. So shalt thou rest, and what if thou withdraw In silence from the living, and no friend Take note of thy departure? All that breathe 60 Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care Plod on, and each one as before will chase His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave Their mirth and their employments, and shall come 65 And make their bed with thee. As the long train Of ages glide away, the sons of men, The youth in life’s green spring, and he who goes In the full strength of years, matron, and maid, The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man- 70 Shall one by one be gathered to thy side, By those, who in their turn shall follow them. So live, that when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan, which moves To that mysterious realm, where each shall take 75 His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go no, like the quarry-slave at night, Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch 80 About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams. ——————————————— “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” Emily Dickinson 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 5 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- 10 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- 15 My Tipper-only Tulle- We paused before a House that seemed A Swelling of the Ground- The Roof was scarcely visible- The Cornice-in the Ground- 20 Since then-’tis Centuries-and yet Feels shorter than the Day I first surmised the Horses’ Heads Were toward Eternity- ——————————————— Works Cited Bryant, William Cullen. “Thanatopsis.” Adventures in American Literature. Ed. Pegasus. Orlando: Harcourt Brace Javanovich, 1989. 153-4. Dickinson, Emily.
“Because I Could Not Stop for Death.” Adventures in American Literature. Ed. Pegasus. Orlando: Harcourt Brace Javanovich, 1989. 329. Bibliography Death compared and contrasted in Thanatopsis and Because I Could Not Stop For Death. Poetry Essays.