Two things that are a part of our world that are present every second of every day are life and time. In Emily Dickinson's multilayered poem, "The Journey , these two topics are focused on through a generic excursion. With the basic metaphor of a journey, Dickinson shows us the choices we have to make as well as the things we must accept along the way.
Dickinson obviously picked a journey to bring the themes out because journeys are often compared with life and usually take time out of one's life. In the first half of the poem, the theme of time is more dominant than the theme of life. However, the last half of the poem obviously makes the reader realize that there is more to the poem and life's leading to death becomes the theme. When trying to find out what each means, the similarities could make one think that there is only one theme. Contradicting that thought, though, are a few lines that make the message of life much deeper than the message of time.
The message of time is that we are all put on this earth for a certain time; we cannot transverse it; we cannot pick and choose what time we want things to occur to the full extent that we would like, including our death. The first stanza addresses the ongoing time process. "Our journey had advanced; / Our feet were almost come / To that odd fork in the road (29). The allusion to our feet in the road is symbolic of us in our time. The next stanza is about the accelerating pace of time with neither our permission nor our knowledge. Our feet become reluctant; we do not want the pace to continue because we cannot keep up with the fast pace around us. It seems as though there just are not enough hours in the day to get done everything we want to get done. The final stanza states that no matter how much we wish, time cannot be stopped, repeated, or accelerated to our appeasement.
The symbolism of time in this poem is meant to