The Death Of A Toad By Richard Wilbur

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Death is final, sudden and yet eternal it yawns before and behind us all. In “The Death of a Toad” by Richard Wilbur, he show’s his response to death through the final moments of a toad caught in a lawnmower. He uses imagery to bring attention to each important detail in the last moments of life while purposefully ignoring others, and diction, to choose certain words describing its journey after its demise.
Death both ends life and brings it into sharp clarity, for the unfortunate toad what is brought into clarity is used to demonstrate what is important in death. The actual cause of death is unimportant to the toad for example, the “power mower caught” (Wilbur, line 1) the toad’s leg and while it “chewed and clipped” (Wilbur, line 2) the actual mower is not described further.
This is because the mechanism of death does not truly matter to the toad or the author, death is inevitable and the mower is simply accepted as what happened to be the deliverer to that end.
The next use of imagery is the “final glade” (Wilbur, line 6) where the toad will come to rest for the last time. It hops to a place “Under the cineraria leaves, in the shade of the ashen heart shaped leaves” (Wilbur, line 45) which is more detailed than anything before it. More important than the injury or even the machine that eventually kills it is the final resting place, meaning the location of death and what that location means to the person dying is more important than the act itself. This is where the toad

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