Literary Analysis Of To An Athlete Dying Young

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On July 27, 1993, Boston’s Celtics player, Reggie Lewis suffered sudden cardiac death on a basketball court at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. The young athlete was only 27 years old. He left behind a legacy averaging 20.8 points per game and 17.6 points per contest. To an average person the loss of life at such a young age would cause discomfort and sorrow, but to A.E Housman, an English acclaimed scholar and poet, he believed dying at the peek of one’s career had its benefits. In 1896, A.E Housman wrote “To An Athlete Dying Young” – a lyric poem and elegy, written in AABB rhyme scheme, which offered the positive attributes of a successful athlete dying young. The poem is written in a basic rhyme in which every two lines rhyme. By doing this the poem is smoother, easier to listen to and pleasing to the ear as an ode to the fallen runner “To An Athlete Dying Young” begins in somewhat of a nursery-rhyme setting. The speaker is overjoyed and nostalgic as he remembers the time when the town paraded through the marketplace with their revered athlete high on the crowd’s shoulders. They were celebrating his victory in winning a race. The story unravels as the speaker uses assonance examples to reset the mood. For example, the speaker states – “To-day, the road all runners come,…” The long vowel sounds work to instantly change the energy of the excerpt and make it seem more somber. The words "stiller," "wither," "shady," and "shut" help reset the chilling, but

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