Thanatopsis By Emily Dickinson And William Cullen Bryant

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Death is an unknown, no one has ever died and come back to tell the tale, instead people have to imagine and come up with what they think it will be like. The poets, Emily Dickinson and William Cullen Bryant, both had very different perspectives when it came to writing about death. In Bryant’s “Thanatopsis”, the speaker emphasizes that one joins nature and should not be afraid because they will be with everyone else as equals when they die. This is different from Dickinson’s poem, “Because I could not stop for Death”, where the speaker takes a ride in a carriage with death for eternity. Whether or not these authors believed that their poems were actual representations of what happens when one dies, the poems both describe unique ideas of what …show more content…

In “Thanatopsis”, it emphasizes that one will become “one with nature” and that one it just a part of the never ending line of people, young and old. This poem tries to comfort the reader with the feelings of everyone else will be with one when death comes around. “Because I could not stop for Death” takes the opposite approach by saying that when one dies they go on a carriage ride, alone with Death for eternity. Another difference between the poems is that while “Thanatopsis” includes references to nature, plants and animals, “Because I could not stop for Death” has references to man-made things, like houses, schools, and clothing. This difference also relates to how in Dickinson’s poem at the beginning it says “Because I could not stop for Death- / He kindly stopped for me-”(l. 1-2), which means that the speaker was so busy during their life their life that Death had to overcome them while they were still living and doing useful things. “Thanatopsis” compares death to be one “Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch / About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams”(l. 81-82) which is a slower take on death. These two differences are related because in the modern mindset of humans, it is believed that one should strive to always be working and should live around and among man-made objects, while according the the speaker in “Thanatopsis”, one should take a more relaxed approach in life …show more content…

The first major belief about death that these poems share is that death is eternal. In Dickinson’s poem the speaker realizes that death is eternal in the lines “I first surmised the Horses’ Heads / Were toward Eternity”(l. 23-24) and in Bryant’s poem it says “Yet not to thine eternal resting-place / Shalt thou retire alone”(l. 32-33). In Dickinson’s poem the speaker is riding through their life on the carriage in the stanza “We passed the School, where Children strove / At Recess-in the Ring- / We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain- / We passed the Setting Sun”(l.9-12), where the school is the beginning of the speaker’s life, the fields of grain were the speaker’s middle of their life or “glory days” and the setting sun being the closing of the speaker’s life. This is similar to Bryant’s poem’s idea that when one dies they “Are shining on the sad abodes of death, Through the still lapse of ages.”(l. 48-49). These poems both have the same base ideas for what death is like, in this case that it is eternal and that one travels through the ages/their life, but have very different ideas on what the experience is

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