Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The speaker is saying that she felt she wasn’t ready to die, that her life wasn’t over yet, but death had other plans for her and felt that it was her time to die.
Dickinson also pointedly intertwines the themes of love and death by portraying a male’s courtship as nothing short of death for the female speaker. For death as for love, the woman must wait to be called upon, but once chosen must give up her work and leisure.
In Infinite Jest David Foster Wallace has the character Orin remark that one can sing almost all of Emily Dickinson’s poems to the theme of “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” and then mentions this poem specifically. It’s rather silly, but it works.
Also reflects on the time period. People were so obsessed with work and money that they could not even stop for the strongest force, death.
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