Imagery in Because I Could Not Stop for Death

Imagery Examples in Because I Could Not Stop for Death:

Text of the Poem 2

"The cornice but a mound...."   (Text of the Poem)

In Dickinson’s original draft of the poem, this line reads as “The Cornice — in the Ground —,” which is an altogether different image. A cornice is a concave feature below a roof or ceiling. The image of a cornice constituting a mound makes little sense. The cornice in ground, however, conveys the notion of a house buried deep in the ground, presumably due to the passage of time. This is a case in which Loomis Todd and Higginson’s edits are notably damaging to the original intention of the poem.

"[...]..."   (Text of the Poem)

In the Loomis Todd and Higginson version of this poem, they omit an entire stanza that describes the speaker’s feeling cold after the carriage passes the sun. The omitted stanza begins “Or rather, he passed us,” inverting the previous line which describes the carriage passing by the setting sun. This image is important as it describes how the speaker and the carriage are now separate from the natural cycle of life. The line implies that the carriage now stands still while the living world passes them by. This inversion foreshadows the pausing of the next line, where the speaker find herself motionless at her final resting place.