Death In Alice Walker's Poem At Thirty-Nine

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There is a saying in Chinese, 每个人都会经过生老病死, that in life, everyone will go through birth, aging, sickness and then finally, death. Death is unavoidable for everyone and every living creature. Even the non-living would have to “face death” and cease to exist one day. Just like what Steve Jobs had once said, “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.” But is it death that we are really all afraid of, or the effect and outcome of it that we are refusing to accept? There are many scenarios that can lead to death like suicide, an incurable illness like last stage cancer or simply just old age, and this is presented in a variety…show more content…
The number “thirty-nine” in the title could represent the age she was when she wrote the poem or it could be the age where she realizes how much she misses her dad. There is a good deal of enjambment which gives a feel that the poem has been brutally chopped mid-sentence; as if she’s trying to contain or control difficult ideas or emotions. The narrative focus of the poem is on grief, which would be an effect of after death, where she reminisces about her father and her childhood with him and then goes on to talk about if he was still alive and with her, longing for him to be with her, which is part of what one feels when they are grieving. Grief is a mixture of raw feelings such as anguish, sorrow, anger, regret, longing and deprivation and may be experienced physically as exhaustion, tension, insomnia or loss of appetite. We can see Walker display some of these emotions like deprivation in the poem where she talks about her father throughout the poem and starts it off with a repeated refrain, “How I miss my father”, in the first stanza and repeats it in the fourth stanza with more emphasis with an exclamation mark. Apart from longing and deprivation, Walker shows regret in the first stanza as well stating “I wish he had not been so tired when I was born”. Although it wasn’t stated as to why the father had been tired, it is assumed that it was due to a burden of an additional mouth to…show more content…
The poem combines with Thomas’ use of repetition and alliteration to create the strong rhythm to emphasize on the “rage”. The poem is focuses on the stage before death where Thomas zeros in on the poem about the concept and progress of dying rather than death itself. This encourages his father to fight against death by not “going gentle into that good night” and to not give up easily. Much of the imagery in the poem is based around “good night” symbolizing death with a pun; the idea that death is a “good” thing at the end of life. Each stanza within the poem describes how different individuals approach and perceives death differently. The fourth stanza sees paradoxes with “blinding sight” as the next simile in the next line says that the blind eyes can “blaze like meteors”. Unfortunately, as fast as the meteors pass quickly, so does the last fight against death. There are other paradoxes included as well, for example, the author asking the father to “curse, bless, me now”. This expresses his desire for his father to keep on fighting. “I pray” at the end of the line also shows the amount of burning desire he has for his father to remain stronger and live on. ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’ shows the “darker side” in comparison to ‘Dance of Death’ by Charles Baudelaire, which shows the “brighter side” of
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