Thanatopsis And The Raven Analysis

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Romanticism was a literary period which emphasized the significance of emotions and individualism over knowledge. Many works were published during this time, including “Thanatopsis” by William Cullen Bryant and “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe. Each of these explore the topic of death. “The Raven” associates death with grief, while “Thanatopsis” aligns death with nature, which are both strong views towards polar opposites. This proves that “Thanatopsis” is a much more optimistic romantic piece. “The Raven” takes on a dejected tone as it correlates death with grief, shying away from any hope of optimism. It begins with the sentence “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary” (Poe line 1). This sets up the story for being…show more content…
Nature is often personified in this piece, for example, “She has a voice of gladness, and a smile and eloquence of beauty” (Bryant lines 4-5). Nature, something that can not be man made, is portrayed as alluring and joyful. Bryant connects the aforementioned with death by realizing that death is apart of life, when “Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim thy growth, to be resolv’d to earth again” (lines 22-23). This means the earth provided for a person during their life and returns them to the earth during their death. Bryant answers the question “what if thou shalt fall unnoticed by the living-- and no friend take note of thy departure?” (lines 58-60). If someone dies alone literally and figuratively, it does not affect the attractive appeal of the afterlife. No characteristics of a person may effect their joyful afterlife, “one by one be gathered to thy side, by those, who in their turn shall follow them” (lines 72-73). Everyone comes together so no one is ever alone in death. In the romantic time period, people found solace through nature, or comfort in a time of distress. This means that death is depicted as something to not fear, but something beautiful in connection with nature, a far more optimistic view.
Both “Thanatopsis” and “The Raven” have strong views towards polar opposite ideas; seeing death as beautiful and a natural part of life, versus dealing with death through depression and anxiety. When comparing the idea of loneliness, “Thanatopsis” makes it a point to not fear desolation by providing company in the afterlife, while “The Raven” is based around being alone and despondent. Grief due to a death will leave you nevermore in “The Raven” while the need for fear because of death is nevermore in “Thanatopsis,” proven to be the much more optimistic work of romantic
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