"Because I would not stop for Death"

Emily Dickinson was a nineteenth century American poet who led an eccentric, reclusive life in Amherst, Massachusetts. Dickinson's preoccupation with death was an important influence on Styron, especially while he was writing his first novel, Lie Down in Darkness (the novel Stingo appears to be writing in Sophie's Choice). Some critics suggest that Nathan's character in relation to Sophie is linked to that of Death in relation to the narrative voice in this poem.