Analysis Of Anne Sexton's The Truth The Dead Know

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Anne Sexton’s “The Truth the Dead Know” centers on one person’s struggle to overcome her reservations regarding grief and mortality. The speaker, after having attended the funeral of her father only three months after her mother passed way, indignantly leaves the service. While on a trip to Cape Cod with a loved one, observing the tranquil landscape, she reflects on the role of human connection in her life, and chooses to confront her feelings towards the dead. The speaker, initially bitter and resentful towards the concept of death, eventually comes to feel sympathy for the dead and their inability to be human.
At first, the speaker is resentful towards death for the emotional turmoil it has forced her to endure. Having outlived both her parents,
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While she is unable to avoid seeing omens of death in her peaceful surroundings, the speaker finds consolation in a deep connection with another human. The speaker, with her partner, drives to Cape Cod, saying, “I cultivate / myself where the sun gutters from the sky, / where the sea swings in like an iron gate / and we touch” (5 – 8). The speaker’s unusual use of a word with connotations of agricultural growth demonstrates the effort she feels she is putting into her person development. However, comparing the sun, usually associated with life and hope, to the unsteady flickering of a candle reveals her pessimistic and morbid viewpoint towards life as something that can be extinguished at any moment. Her comparison of the tides to the heavy, rusted gates of a cemetery further demonstrates the speaker’s preoccupation with death. The tendency of the speaker to remind herself of death in an environment intended to serve as an escape from the macabre indicates that she still feels unable to move past her parents’ deaths, as much as she may try. The speaker then addresses her lover, telling him, “the wind falls in like stones / from the whitehearted water and when we touch / we enter touch entirely. No one’s alone” (9 – 11). The speaker’s use of a simile to convey the harsh, biting touch of the wind continues to express her
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