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Life And Death Essay

1991 words - 8 pages

Life and Death
Death is the inevitable conclusion of life. As Benjamin Franklin said, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes.” Some people fear death, and even try to fight it. In the end, they will lose the battle and end up facing death. Death is enigmatic, and has fascinated mankind since the beginning of time. The nature of death is puzzling because nobody knows what lies beyond it, and it has been the subject of much speculation in literature. This uncertainty about how to deal with our own mortality has fueled many authors’ imaginations, and they have written numerous literary works on the subject of death. Most people have seen death, even experienced the death ...view middle of the document...

On one side there is the modest Puritan, while on the other side lies the shameless socialite. These poets bring forth their own styles on the same subject; sometimes widely different, and sometimes strangely similar.
The themes of both works are related to death, but they differ in how they portray it. In Emily Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop for Death,” Death is personified and is almost serene. The theme is that Death is liberating the persona and taking her to a better place. According to Theodore Hoepfner, “To those who believe in an afterlife, death may be kind in taking us from a world of proverbial woe into one of equally proverbial eternal bliss; the irony is in the contrast between our fear of death and the kindness of his mission”. Throughout the poem, Dickinson gives the optimistic side of death. In the poem, she writes, “And I had put away / My labor, and my leisure too, / For his civility.” This seems to give an almost joyful connotation of death, as an escape from the labors of life. To her, Death is like a savior, whisking her away from the world and into a better plane of existence.
Dickinson emphasizes that the persona is comfortable with the thought of dying through her use of symbols. Death is personified as a man, not some abstract idea or a hooded, scythe-carrying creature. She is not afraid of him, but she finds him intriguing and fascinating. Dickinson says that they are riding along at a leisurely pace, writing “[w]e slowly drove, he knew no haste” and she comments on Death’s “civility.” The relaxing drive is not something to be dreaded in her mind. It is a tranquil journey through the memories of life, and it is a time of reflection. The school can be a symbol representing her childhood, the earliest stages of her life. This is followed by the reference to the “gazing grain” which symbolizes adulthood. The final stage of life is characterized by the “setting sun.” All of these symbols are soft, tender images that are not designed to frighten. The grave is not a dark, forbidding hole to be feared. Instead, it is portrayed as a house, which signifies comfort and security. She is wearing a gown, possibly a wedding gown. This could imply that she and Death are to be married, which may represent the idea of death being a new beginning. Dickinson does not see death as something to be fought, kicking and screaming, until the bitter end. Death is just the end result, and should be welcomed with open arms. Thomas has a decidedly different viewpoint on this matter.
Dylan Thomas does not see death as anything to be accepted peacefully. In “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night,” the theme is that death is an enemy to be battled mercilessly until the bitter end. Through the entire poem, Thomas is telling the reader to fight death. He feels that life is happiness, with death as a form of punishment to end the paradise that is life. Thomas’s viewpoint is a rather selfish one, as his driving...

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