Critical Analysis of The Pardon Essay

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Critical Analysis of The Pardon Death and life are intertwined in such a way that one cannot come without the other. Richard Wilbur uses graphic description to clearly express this in his work "The Pardon," through a series of events that ultimately bring a man to learn to mourn, after causing him a lifetime without love. As a young boy, the speaker is traumatized by the death of his dog, and is thus lead to pursue a life that lacks both love and the recognition of death. As an older man, the speaker comes to terms with his losses as he sees the dog in his sleep. During this nightmare, it is evident that the sole purpose of the dog's returning is to haunt the narrator for the mistake that he made. While the nightmare is just as…show more content…
The boy is only allowing himself to be exposed to the sweeter scent of the honeysuckle, which symbolizes his reluctance to accept death. As a young ten-year-old, the loss of a dog would change the narrator's life significantly. Death something that he had never experienced before, and to make it worse, it was happening to and individual which he had loved and had grown extremely close to. The speaker openly tells us that he had been afraid. This fear that is instilled in him was the seed for his inability to find love not only in life, but in death as well. Because he knew nothing of death thus far in his life, he was so hurt by the loss of the dog that he stopped loving it. The narrator was unable to find it within himself to forgive anybody for taking his companion away from him, and at the same time, he went on to push away all affection and care in his life; "And I could not forgive the sad or strange in beast or man" (lines 11-12). In doing this, he was able to avoid dealing with the cruelty of death another time. There was no room inside of him to forgive for all of the pain that he had to carry. From the point that his father "took the spade and buried [the dog]" (lines 12-13), the narrator began to live his life stoically and plainly, never stopping for love or to enjoy his years. This is apparent because at the end of the poem we will see that he expresses his remorse for his past, and longs to mourn and love
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