Theme Of The Afterlife And The History Teacher By Billy Collins

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In most poems, the tone often represents the underlying meaning of the selection. Billy Collins goes against those standards and uses comedy while also having serious undertones. Hailing from New York City, Billy Collins grew up in a middle-class family. His background is often evident in his writing, making him one of the most popular poets in America. He served as United States Poet Laureate (2001-2003) and New York State Poet Laureate (2004-2006), one of the most prestigious positions as a poet. He has taught at numerous universities in the United States. His writing is often understandable to the general public, increasing his audience. In both “The Afterlife” and “The History Teacher” by Billy Collins, the poet uses simple topics, tone, and dialect to display similarities within the two poems such as deeper meaning and historical context.
Billy Collins heavily manipulates dialect in both of his poems to display historical context such as religion and the No Child Left Behind Act. “The Afterlife” discusses the different beliefs within multiple ideologies and religions on their ideas on life after death. Collins uses humor such as “Others are standing naked before a forbidding judge who sits/with a golden ladder on one side, a coal chute on the other” (12-13). Humor often attracts the reader; Collins uses his comical personality in hyperboles of religious beliefs. Throughout the poem, he discusses the different historical beliefs about what happens after death.
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