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4 pages/≈1100 words
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Literature & Language
Research Paper
English (U.S.)
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"Because I Could Not Stop For Death” by Emily Dickinson (Research Paper Sample)


Focus on an in-depth analysis of the speaker(s) of the poems “Because I Could Not Stop For Death” by Emily Dickinson and “Sympathy” by Paul Lawrence Dunbar.


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Final Research Essay

Emily Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop For Death”  and Paul Lawrence Dunbar’s “Sympathy” are exceptional and timeless poems depicting various themes, both similar and contrasting, whose meanings are still relevant to date. Dickinson applies various styles to depict themes of death, time, and the cycle of life while Dunbar uses various styles, including personification, symbolism, and themes of oppression, and hope to analyze various societal issues affecting the minority groups in the society. While the two poets apply different poetic and thematic styles to portray life issues that existed decades ago, their message still resonate in today’s society, portraying issues that affect different segments of the society and the society as a whole.

Both Dickinson and Dunbar apply the use of personification in their poems, giving a personified object or idea, a life on its own, and allowing the two authors to best describe various issues. Arp and Johnson describe the use of personification in poetry as a way of giving an idea, an animal or an inanimate object human attributes such as emotions, feelings and other human traits (708). Dunbar uses personification in different figurative expression to exemplify different themes. For instance, in the line “Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;”, Dunbar uses the phrase on the cruel bars as personification, indicating that bars have the ability to be cruel. The personification builds on the theme of lack of freedom and oppression inflicted on people. Durbar also personifies the bird in his poem by using humanizing metaphors, such as “he must fly back”, “his perch”, and “his wing” to refer to a human, as opposed to the literal reference of a bird. Durbar uses personification to give a symbolic meaning and emphasize on this themes in the poem that extends beyond the literal meaning of a caged bird.

Similar personification is evident in Dickinson’s Because I could not stop for Death. Dickinson personifies death by using humanizing metaphors such as He kindly stopped for me (Ruby and Napierkowski 27). The use of “He” in this case gives death human qualities, and traits that enables death to act as a human by stopping. Dickinson uses this personification to enable the reader view death as a person leading a human to another realm beyond life. Dickinson also personifies death as a perfect gentleman with “Civility”, bringing rest to humanity that is already burdened with earthly activities (Ruby and Napierkowski 29). Additionally, Dickinson humanizes death when she writes it as noun, Death, allowing death to take a human personality (Ruby and Napierkowski 28). Dickson employs personification in the poem, allowing the reader to visualize the events in her poem, events that are otherwise impossible to imagine in literal terms.

Dickinson paints the cycle of life in her poem, a thematic view that explores human life, nostalgic life experiences, and the eventuality of the end of life that starts at the grave

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