Death is part of the human life cycle, approximately 151,600 people die each day. Everyone wonders how they will die, if they suffer, if it’s tragic or if it’s just simply peaceful. In each of the three poems the main focus is death. Each poem shows a different feeling about death. “Thanatopsis” by William Bryant, “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult and “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas, all have different meanings of death.
The poem “Thanatopsis” by William Cullen Bryant reveals a very unusual aspect of nature. While most people think of nature as beauty and full of life, Bryant takes a more interesting approach to nature. He exposes a correlation between nature, life, death, and re-birth. Using nature as a foothold, Bryant exercises methods such as tone, setting, and imagery in a very intriguing way while writing “Thanatopsis.”
Death is a topic that unites all of humanity. While it can be uncomfortable to think about, confronting death in unavoidable. “Dying” addresses that discomfort and universal unwillingness to consider the inevitability of death. Pinsky’s use of imagery, symbolism, and tone create a poetic experience that is like death, something every reader can relate to. In “Dying,” Pinsky describes how people are oblivious and almost uncaring when it comes to the thought of death. Pinsky is trying to convince the reader that they shouldn’t ignore the concept of death because life is shorter than it seems.
Many people attempt to avoid death, and many times those people are successful; however, more often than not, when people face the predicament of dying, they are not fortunate enough to escape the misfortune. Whether a person surpasses the curse of death at one point in time, eventually they will come to meet death; death is inevitable. Virginia Woolf, author of the essay, “The Death of the Moth,” captures the message death is inevitable. Throughout the essay, Woolf follows the short life of a day moth. In following the moth, Woolf comes to the realization that regardless of what she attempts to do to proliferate the decay of the moth, the moth will still succumb to death. To encapsulate the theme in the essay, Woolf uses numerous
Regardless of race, caste, religion, or age, every human has wondered about the one fact of life that unifies us all: What is death? Both poems, “Death of a Young Son by Drowning” by Margaret Atwood and “Because I could Not Stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson share a common subject of death. Using figurative language, both poems illustrate distinct takes on a similar topic.
Life is a constant struggle against the ever present chill of death. Fear, betrayal, and cowardice all stems from life’s distaste of death. Human beings naturally rebuke the unknown, so it is only logical that people fight the inevitability of death. However, most people are ignorant of the reality of one day dying, prompting writer Virginia Woolf to write the essay, “The Death of the Moth”, in order to convey the frailty of life whilst also showing the awesome might of death. In the essay, her main purpose is to show that the moth embodies the human race, and that death is an inevitable fact of life no matter how much the human race struggles to stay alive. Woolf is able to get her purpose across by
Death is inescapable. In the same way, life is inescapable. The Appalachian short story, “Jake Pond”, portrays this inevitable cycle through the depiction of a young boy enjoying nature. Lou Crabtree writes of the many inner workings of life through symbolism. While some would say this story is a literal telling of a boy and his surroundings, it does, in fact, include a plethora of metaphors to display the complexities of life through figurative language (Crabtree). In Lou Crabtree’s “Jake Pond” symbols such as the young boy, black snakes, pond, hollytree, and other natural entities portray themes of life and death, while detailing multiple aspects of change.
Ted Kooser’s poem, “Surviving”, can be interpreted in many different ways. At first the poem seems to be about a man who is watching a bug being attentive to its surroundings and the bug having the fear of death. Another way to interpret this poem is that death is unrelenting. Even when the speaker seems to have ceased the image of death, it finds its way back. This is prevalent because the speaker starts talking about the fear of death, then altering the tone by describing this bug he witnesses. The speaker then leaves the reader uncertain at the end of the poem. Ted Kooser reveals the uncertainty of the bugs’ near future in the last line of the poem. A careful analysis of the poem, the poem is truly about a man in his final stages of life being attentive to death and the beauty of the bug he observes.
Despite any futile resistance, every living creature eventually succumbs to death. Ultimately, death is part of living. Death is inevitable. Likewise, although a diminutive moth may appear to be insignificant and pathetic, it can symbolize the true, many connections between the duality of life and death and human beings. For instance, Annie Dillard and Virginia Woolf illustrate similar, universal messages of the value of life through the metaphor of a moth. However, the manner in which they portray their themes and purpose varies, for their personal experiences and writing styles influence their provisions of life and death.
"Out, Out," by Robert Frost is a gruesomely graphic and emotional poem about the tragic end of a young boy's life. It is a powerful expression about the fragility of life and the fact that death can come at any time. Death is always devastating, but it is even more so when the victim is just a young boy. The fact that the boy's death came right before he could " Call it a day" (750) leads one to think the tragedy might have been avoided and there by forces the reader to think, "What if." This poem brings the question of mortality to the reader's attention and shows that death has no age limit.
Men and animals alike began to lose loyalty and the ability to feel emotions and “earth was only one thought”- the thought of death. Faced with the thought of death, no creature on earth fared better than the other. As life was taken from all creatures, the realization of a terrifying end became apparent and “no love was left.”
In “On Natural Death,” Thomas appeals to the readers by contemplating the subject of death with an academic approach that includes facts, data, and information. Thomas successfully transforms death from an awkward, emotional subject to a more comfortable intellectual one. This engages the readers by placing contemplation of death and dying within the confines of a more manageable and rational context. His gradual exhumation of death eases the audience into pondering the subject in the absence of emotional stress. The essay transitions from the death of an elm tree to that of a mouse. This is followed by Thomas giving a significant amount of attention to a scientific explanation of death, and then finally the description of the near death experience of a human. This use of an academic appeal moves the audience to a comfort zone with the subject of death and circumvents the common response of avoidance. The reader is simultaneously desensitized to the gravity of subject matter and given permission to consider death and dying without the normal societal negative stigma associated with the subject.
Virginia Woolf’s “Death of a Moth” may, at first glance, seem lackluster; however, her creative and impactful message is brilliantly hidden within symbolism that demands an abstract perspective. She uses imagery to describe a moth and personify its actions in order to present it as a symbol for life. Additionally, pathos throughout her work evokes emotions and prompts the analytical thinking needed to understand her underlying meaning. Thus, Woolf’s analysis about life is composed using symbolism, imagery, and pathos that combine to create a contemplative style and motivational purpose.
Death is a difficult subject for anyone to speak of, although it is a part of everyday life. In Virginia Woolf’s “The Death of the Moth”, she writes about a moth flying about a windowpane, its world constrained by the boundaries of the wood holding the glass. The moth flew, first from one side, to the other, and then back as the rest of life continued ignorant of its movements. At first indifferent, Woolf was eventually moved to pity the moth. This story shows that life is as strange and familiar as death to us all. I believe this story was well written and will critique the symbolism, characters, and the setting.