Death And The Turtle Poem Analysis

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An Analysis of “Death and the Turtle” In “Death and the Turtle” May Sarton examines many aspects of death. At first glance her three stanza and twenty four line poem seems to remain constant by maintaining a stringent rhyme scheme and steady iambic pentameter. However, upon further examination there are three major shifts that contribute significantly to the meaning of the poem. As the poem progresses there are shifts in the scale, emotion, and inevitability of death. All of these shifts contribute to the poem’s deeper meaning that although death is unavoidable people still have the ability to resist it. One of the most notable shifts in the poem is in the scale of death in the poem. In the first stanza Sarton describes the death of a small turtle. In the eight lines she describes many aspects of the turtle’s death including the “emerald shell” (line 4) of the turtle that grew soft. The turtle is an insignificant creature in the poem. When the turtle dies the speaker of the poem “wraps [it] in a lettuce leaf” (line 9) and buries it. It receives no significant burial and the speaker forgets about it as she begins to ponder a variety of questions about death. However, as the poem progresses Sarton begins to reference a number of larger things such as “China, Greece, and Rome” (line 22). She says that we remember these places and suggests that in doing so we help them to overcome death. Sarton disregards the small scale of the turtle and shows that these large historic places are still living because people remember them. In doing this she…show more content…
By living memorable lives and passing on those memories to their children people are able to overcome
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