Samantha J Stroud
ENG 125 Introductions to Literature
Instructor: Lesa Hadley
Submitted on: February 24, 2014
Theme is defined by Webster’s dictionary online as “a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in literary or artistic work” (Webster).The theme death and Impermanence describes life cycles and human behavior in its’ gravest sense. Authors are often able to use literature to show just how vulnerable humans can be and yet somehow managing to find elegant, beautiful and dignified ways to show it. Examining life in its darkest and most fragile stage of life yet its beauty is just as beautiful and amazing as the first breathe taken in life. How can so many different authors grasp the same theme? I believe through the use of symbolic language or symbolism these authors are able to grasp the theme of death and impermanence. According to Webster’s dictionary, symbolism is “the representation of a concept through symbols or underlying meanings of objects or qualities” (Webster). In this paper I will be comparing the literature elements viewing the similarities and differences of “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas and “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost.
In both poems the authors used literary devices such as imagery, similes, and metaphors to guide the readers experience not only the written message but the verbal as well. These particular literary devices incorporate the usage of rhythm, which increases the readers experience more intense and giving it a set tone. It’s hard not to believe that the writers were not trying to convey something in a certain manner and that they weren’t trying to guide the reader’s interpretation a bit through the use of such tools.
Reviewing “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas I believe he not only touches on how important it is to not only fight death, but to live life to its fullest. This poem is from an opposing omniscient third person point of view that changed in the last stanza to the first person. . Many authors have often symbolized death with darkness and life with light.
In this poem Thomas is pleading with his father to not give up but fight death to the end.
Thomas' portrays death through metaphors. He describes death as being, “that good night” and this metaphor cause’s death to become something unknown, unseen and unfamiliar. (Thomas, 1952) Thomas suggests that death is the darkness of night. It almost feels like Thomas wants the reader to fear and fight against death. (Thomas, 1952) Thomas’s second refrain read, “Rage, Rage against the dying of the light.” Here he wants his father to fight against the fading light of life. When I first read this poem I felt as if Thomas was pleading with his father to fight for his life, and not to accept death just because it’s part of life’s cycle. Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost takes another twist instead of fighting the cycle of life he embraces the cycle. Frost uses the symbolic of a tree to describe the cycle of life. Frost first line “Nature's first green is gold” Green is the first mark of spring, the assurance of life; yet in fact the first flush of vegetation for the New England birch and the willow is not green but the haze of delicate gold. (Ferguson, 1973) Hence green is a theory or sign of spring; gold is the fact. (Ferguson, 1973) Gold, precious and permanent as a metal, is here not considered as a metal but as a color. Its hue is described as hard to hold, as evanescent as wealth itself. (Ferguson, 1973) In the second couplet paradox is emphasized again, this time in the terms of leaf and flower. (Ferguson, 1973) It is leaf, with all the special function of its being, instead of flower. (Ferguson, 1973) The leaf exists in disguise only a moment and then moves on to its true state as leaf. (Ferguson, 1973) In terms of the two parallel paradoxes, we find the green which appears as gold becoming