Death Is Impossibly Unpredictable By William Cullen Bryant

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Life’s Certainty Life is impossibly unpredictable. However, one certainty exists in life: death. Even though it is certain, it provokes the deepest and most fearful reaction. Why is death so dreaded? It is something that many find hard to comprehend because of its finality, mystery, and unpredictability. Death surrounds each and every one of us at every stage of life, whether it is the death of a family member or friend or worse, the fear of death of someone close, even ourselves. The confusion and negativity of death can become consuming as people search for meaning and understanding. It is universal, unavoidable, and inevitable. The concept of death leaves us yearning for answers and meaning, ultimately culminating in fear of the unknown and in death itself. Although we may not know the answers, we look for ways to palliate this fear and curiosity through rituals, religion, or simple self-discovery. William Cullen Bryant’s “Thanatopsis” helps us to understand that death must not be feared, rather embraced. Through depictions of nature’s sympathy as well as death’s universality and painlessness, Bryant comforts us about death and portrays it in a reassuring and positive light. Bryant begins the poem by establishing both the deep connection between death and nature in life, as well as the recourse nature offers us in death. He states that when we die we will “[lose] each human trace/To mix for ever with the elements” (24-26). By establishing the underlying harmony between

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