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Life and Death in Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle and Frost’s Stopping by Woods

Life and Death in Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle and Frost’s Stopping by Woods

“‘Carpe Diem'(‘seize the day’) is a Latin phrase which has come to denote an important literary motif especially common in lyric poetry: the encouragement to make the most of present life while it lasts, or to ‘live for the moment,” (The UVic Writer’s Guide). Both Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle” explore the idea that people should attempt to live life to its fullest. Thomas’s poem, written to his father, employs a very emotional, pleading style that deeply appeals to the audience, while Frost’s poem, a series of thoughts about his own eventual death, exhibits a more pensive, practical, subtle style that craftily forces the audience to think of their own eventual demise. The themes of the two poems are similar in that both explain that death is impending, that people should not take for granted the time they have left on earth, and that people need courage to face death and to realize when death can wait. Thomas, however, strongly believes that people should take an active role in what happens to them during their lives as evident in his fervent, cogent tone, while Frost believes that each person has an appropriate time to die, and that people should try to accomplish their obligations before they let themselves give in to death’s temptation.

“Do Not Go Gentle” is an emotional plea to Dylan’s aging father to stay alive and fight death, without altering his individualism. In other words, Dylan wants his father to take his life into his own hands and control his own destiny. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” (Thomas 2570), a line that is repeated throughout the poem, best su…

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…rature. (1994) 1344.

Holbrook, David. Dylan Thomas: The Code of Night. University of London: The Athlone Press, 1972. 196.

Holbrook, David. Llareggub Revisted: Dylan Thomas and the State of Modern Poetry. Cambridge: Bowes and Bowes, 1965. 100-101.

Kidder, Rushworth M. Dylan Thomas: The Country of the Spirit. Princeton: PrincetonUniversity Press, 1984. 94, 187-190, 197.

Pritchard, William H. Frost: A Literary Life Reconsidered. Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1985. 43.

Stanford, Derek. Dylan Thomas. New York: The Citadel Press, 1986. 116-118.

Thomas, Dylan. “Do Not Go Gentle.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. (1996) 2570.

Waggoner, Hyatt H. “A Writer of Poems: The Life and Work of Robert Frost,” The Times Literary Supplement. April 16, 1971, 433-34.

Zverev, A. Untitled. Poetry Criticism, Vol. I. 222.

Optimism vs. Pessimism in Pope’s Essay on Man and Leapor’s Essay on Woman

Optimism vs. Pessimism in Pope’s Essay on Man and Leapor’s Essay on Woman

Both Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man, Epistle 2 and Mary Leapor’s Essay on Woman expound the fatalist contention that neither man nor woman can “win,” as each individual exists in a world of trade-offs. Yet, by each author’s singular technique of sculpting his ideas with the literary tools of contrast, argument, and syntax, the cores of the two essays turn back to back, evolving into distinct, but contrary perspectives of Man’s (in respect to mankind) and Woman’s existence. Pope asserts that a profusion of trade-offs establish a certain equilibrium point where Man hangs “on this isthmus of a middle state” (Magill 2629). After defining the boundaries of Man’s oscillations through a procession of clever paradoxes of words, Pope conciliates Man’s unpredictable balance, or fulcrum point, as the essence of Man as an individual. Although consistent with Pope’s theory of life’s extremes, Mary Leapor utilizes contrasting imagery within specific female case studies to decry the life of Woman as doomed to slavery by her inevitable fate. The two poets’ views ultimately oppose each other. While Pope experiments with punctuation and precision, Leapor explores the effects of personalization. By subtly but convictively proposing an optimistic perspective, that Man’s confused position is his claim to fame, Pope intones his poetry with an uplifting vitality readily conducted to his reader; whereas Leapor opines Woman’s confused position as the doom of life’s essence and transitively condemns her reader to the incurable pessimism she so vividly relates.

The essence of man, as defined by Pope, is a series of paradoxical, yet concrete sets of contrasting wo…

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…les: 1968.

Dixon, Peter. The World of Pope’s Satires. Methuen

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