Theodore Roethke's Elegy For Jane

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Theodore Roethke’s “Elegy for Jane” (1953) and Richard Willbur’s “The Pardon” (1950) accurately present the theme of death. In particular, on the one hand, Theodore Roethke’s “Elegy for Jane” offers an insight into the speaker’s memories for one of his students, who died, through the use of a melancholic tone, vivid imagery and figures of speech. On the other hand, Richard Willbur’s “Τhe Pardon” draws our attention to a young boy, who is traumatized by the death of his dog and his inability to confront death later in his life, through the creation of a frightening tone and the use of poetic imagery and figures of speech, as my analysis aims to show.
The tone that prevails in “Elegy for Jane” by Theodore Roethke is melancholic. The voice that we hear in the poem belongs to the poet, who addresses an elegy to Jane, a student of his, who died when she fell off a horse. Firstly, the poet stands “over [her] damp grave” (5.3) and speaks “the words of [his] love” (5.3) to her, but she is not there. He is “waiting like a fern, making a spiney shadow” (4.2), but she is not coming back. Secondly, we can see that the poet is in pain, because he says that “the sides of wet stones cannot console [him]” (4.3). Furthermore, the melancholic tone is enhanced by a very powerful juxtaposition. More specifically, the first two stanzas generate a mood of happiness, as the poet compares different aspects of Jane with a plant, a fish and a happy bird that sings a song, which influences positively
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