Whatever the significance of the phrase “He kindly stopped for me,” the speaker does not dread Death, as personified by the kindly carriage driver. This poem also suggests that the speakers perceptions of time and space are different in death; centuries may pass, yet it still Feels shorter than the Day first surmised the Horses Heads
Were toward Eternity — (Lines 22-24)
In both “465” (“I heard a Fly buzz — when I died”), and “712” (“Because I could not stop for Death — “) death is a theme. In neither poem is the speaker afraid or resisting death. In the first, the speaker simply awaits death while family and friends anxiously mark the “onset” and arrival of the “King” (which never comes).
In the second, Death, is a kindly carriage driver, and welcomed. Neither poem contains inference of fear of death. Both poems may therefore underscore Emily Dickinsons own lack of both a fear of death, and a belief in God or an afterlife.
Dickinson, Emily. “465.” The Harper American Literature. Vol. 2, 2nd. Ed.
Donald McQuade et al. (Eds.). New York: Longman, 1993. 188.
Dickinson, Emily. “712.” The Harper American Literature. Vol. 2. 2nd Ed.
Donald McQuade et al. (Eds.). New York: Longman, 1993..