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Short response and essay

1. Short Response Read “[Because I could not stop for Death—]” as it appeared in its earliest published form (after Dickinson’s death), in the 1890 Poems, edited by Mabel Loomis Todd and T. W. Higginson. You’ll notice that Todd and Higginson assigned the poem the title “The Chariot,” regularized Dickinson’s punctuation, omitted a stanza, and changed many words.

“The Chariot”
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.
We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.
We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible.
The cornice but a mound.
Since then ’tis centuries but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.

Write a one- to two-page response paper about the differences between this poem and the version that appears in The Norton Anthology of American Literature. How is the poem changed by changes in punctuation? Changes in wording? What is the effect of leaving out stanza 4? Why do you think the 1890 editors might have made these alterations?

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