This printable supports Common Core ELA Standard ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2, ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3, and ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4

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Analyzing a Poem (Grade 9)

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Analyzing a Poem

Because I Could Not Stop for Death
by Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me
The Carriage held but just Ourselves
4 And Immortality.

We slowly drove. He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
8 For His Civility

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess in the Ring
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain
12 We passed the Setting Sun

Or rather He passed Us
The Dews drew quivering and chill
For only Gossamer, my Gown
16 My Tippet only Tulle

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground
The Roof was scarcely visible
20 The Cornice?but a Mound

Since then 'tis Centuries and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
24 Were toward Eternity
Which lines from the poem are an example of hyperbole?
  1. "We paused before a House that seemed / A Swelling of the Ground"
  2. "Since then 'tis Centuries and yet / Feels shorter than the Day"
  3. "My labor, and my leisure too, / For His Civility"
  4. "The Roof was scarcely visible/ The Cornice but a Mound"
How does the poet characterize death?

How does the speaker's characterization of death differ from other traditional representations of death such as the Grim Reaper?

In which stanza does the feeling of the poem begin to change?
  1. Stanza 1
  2. Stanza 2
  3. Stanza 3
  4. Stanza 4
Which line from the poem shows how long it has been since the speaker first met death?
  1. We slowly drove – He knew no haste
  2. Since then – 'tis Centuries – and yet
  3. Feels shorter than the Day
  4. I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Which theme is best represented in the poem?
  1. The nature of death
  2. There is life after death
  3. Death is the end
  4. Death comes quickly
The house in Stanza 5 serves as a metaphor that represents...
  1. The speaker's childhood home
  2. The spiritual realm where the speaker ends up
  3. The speaker's grave
  4. The home of Death
In Stanza 5, the author uses the words "swelling of the ground." These words most likely reference...
  1. The dirt piled on top of a coffin
  2. The ground broken by an earthquake
  3. A hole in the ground
  4. A path to the afterlife
How does the speaker create suspense in the poem?
  1. By personifying death
  2. By saying it happened centuries ago
  3. By drawing out the carriage ride
  4. By saying the sun set and it grew chilly
Emily Dickinson, the author of the poem, was a Christian and many have argued that this poem expresses some of those beliefs. If Dickinson wrote this poem from a Christian perspective, do you believe the speaker spent the afterlife in Heaven or Hell?

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