Dickinson, “It Was Not Death, For I Stood Up”

Robin Ekiss’s interpretation by dividing each of the stanzas into parts made me wonder what Dickinson meant by ‘It’. Yes, Ekiss is definitely right by saying that it feels like Dickinson means death when she says ‘it’ but she makes it clear that it is not death. Could it be her own ghost or soul leaving her body?

I am not sure if it is the narrator or Dickinson, but one of them seem to be afraid of Death. When it says “As if my life were shaven, / And fitted to a frame, / And could not breathe without a key”. The narrator describes that his or her life is being belittled by being put into this box. It is as if once someone is dead, that is the end for them; no memories, no wiggle-room, no after thought. Life was the only important part of his or her life; time to move onto other people. However, Dickinson personifies the dead narrator by saying that he/she can breathe with a key; that life does not end when you die. The narrator is afraid of Death and of being forgotten about or tossed aside; whereas there is a life to look forward to after dying. 

via Dickinson, “It Was Not Death, For I Stood Up”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.