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The Paradox Of Death Essay

2143 words - 9 pages

The Paradox of Death
Death comes to us all one way or another, there is no escaping death. Our natural life’s cycle must take its course. The core focal point of this exposition is to compare and contrast the symbol of death and impermanence in the poems Because I Could Not Stop for Death by Emily Dickinson and Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night by Dylan Thomas. Each poem offers a different perspective towards accepting death. In one literary work we have someone who welcomed death submissively, in contrast to another literary work where the author is willing someone dear to him to fight against death. Together the two literary works incorporated the same theme with dissimilar points of ...view middle of the document...

The speaker in Emily Dickinson’s poem recalls the encounter with death from a dead person’s point of view. Dickinson uses personification to make it appear as though she is being approached by a man in her first two lines, “Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me (Clugston, 2010)”. The capitalization of Death as if it were a person’s name made it apparent that Dickinson was in fact referring to Death as a person instead of an event. In this poem death is more of an expected friend, rather than a means to an end. We know this because the text reads “I had put away my labor and my leisure too, for his civility (Clugston, 2010)”. The reader is lead to assume she “The dead person in question” is calm and relaxed in her reunion with Death.
Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” does not challenge the notion of death. Dickinson recounts that her final resting place with the use of a metaphor. A metaphor is simply a figure of speech. Metaphors, according to Merriam –Webster’s dictionary, are words or phrases for one thing that is used to refer to another thing in order to show or suggest that they are similar (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2014)”. The most apparent use of a metaphor in this poem can be found in the text as the speaker recalls her final resting place, “a house that seemed a swelling of the ground (Clugston, 2010)”. The author’s use of figurative language contributes to the theme of death because the reader is able to visualize the grave or tombstone of where the speaker was laid to rest. Death and its finality have a purpose and understanding here. The speaker is remembering life and the transition of death. This poem is the aftermath of a death not the occurrence or near death experience.
Emily Dickinson gives a different visual. It’s as if she is speaking from the grave. The tone of voice in literature can be transparent. The tone of each literary work has everything to do with how the reader accepts and understands the poem. Dickinson entices the reader into believing that there can be immortality and that no one should be afraid of death. She openly speaks of death and immortality as people in her life along the journey to her demise. In line three and four, Dickinson states, “the carriage held just but ourselves and Immortality (Clugston, 2010)”. Here she is providing evidence that Immortality, also personified as a person is riding with her as she is taken to the afterlife. What a person believes about death can also be how they cope with death. Since death is inevitable, Dickinson’s tone towards it is relaxed because she may have been expecting death to come for her. The reader can distinguish that although it may be difficult to accept the death of someone, everyone dies in their own way, with their own beliefs. Dickinson’s meeting with death was reflective and vulnerable to the degree that, “no person wants to go through life in the grip of a fear of the natural condition of...

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