This essay Thanatopsis has a total of 583 words and 3 pages.
The poem, “Thanatopsis,” written by William Cullen Bryant, is a wonderful literary work which explores the often controversial questions of death. Within his well written lines Bryant attempts to show the relationship between death’s eternal questions and the ongoing cycle of nature and life. Upon concluding the poem many readers are able to reaffirm their faith of an afterlife, while others are left aimlessly pondering this strange possibility.
Throughout the poem Bryant creates images which connect death and sleep. In fact, once the reader gets halfway through the poem they discover that Bryant uses these words almost interchangeably. In the second stanza he writes, “All that tread the globe are but a handful to the tribes that slumber in its bosom.” Instead of referring to death he uses the word “slumber.” These connections continue in a number of places. Other examples include lines 57 and 66. In line 57 he writes, “In their last sleep the dead reign there alone,” and in line 66, referring to death and burial, Bryant writes, “And make their bed with thee.” This connection between death and sleep creates an intriguing metaphor which adds depth and meaning to the poem.
By using this strange metaphor I believe Bryant wishes to suggest his faith in an afterlife. While examining the differences and similarities of death and sleep the reader is left with some very thought provoking questions. The answers to these questions reassure some readers while confusing others. Sleep is a time of rest. It allows preparation for the next day or event, and by relating this definition to death Bryant gives new insight on one’s fate after earthly existence. When identifying sleep with death Bryant gives death many characteristics of slumber. People generally wake from sleep, and Bryant expands this occurrence to death. Death could simply be a time of rest that retires the bodies’ of earthly beings, and allows the soul to wake. Upon waking the soul is freed, and enters a new plane of existence. This idea of a spiritual awakening is demonstrated in “Thanatopsis.” In lines 50 and 51 Bryant writes, “Take the wings of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness.” To me, the wings in this statement symbolize a spiritual, angelic being, and the morning suggests a time of waking. After waking, the angelic being breaks through the confinement of the human grave, and continues its existence elsewhere. In my opinion these lines indicate Bryant’s belief in an afterlife.
After reflective meditation in the wilderness Bryant comes to terms with death. He knows death is a conclusion to the material world, but in this conclusion is a type of rebirth. Bryant believes death prepares the soul for its next journey. With this belief he is put at ease, but I cannot say the same for myself. I am truly confused about the subject. It is a source of great frustration for me. I, like many people, talk about the possibility of an afterlife, but it seems rather pointless. I spend countless hours pondering a question that shall never be answered in this lifetime. In addition, I realize death, along with being the end of the earthly life, is an end to all earthly traits. The afterlife begins following death, and cannot contain earthly characteristics. Therefore, it is illogical for me to attempt the comprehension of an afterlife. Even if it exists it is still impossible for me, as a living person, to understand or fathom.
Topics Related to Thanatopsis
Thanatopsis, William Cullen Bryant, Afterlife, Lines, Soul, Plane, Near-death experience
Essays Related to Thanatopsis
Romanticismromanticism Romanticism is an artistic and intellectual movement originating in Europe in the late 18th century and is characterized by a heightened interest in nature, emphasis on an individual\'s expression of emotion and imagination, a departure from the attitudes and forms of classicism, and rebellion against established social rules and conventions. Romantic writers usually involve one or more of 7 different ideas associated with Romanticism in their writings. These ideas are: a profound lo
ThanatopsisThanatopsis The poem, “Thanatopsis,” written by William Cullen Bryant, is a wonderful literary work which explores the often controversial questions of death. Within his well written lines Bryant attempts to show the relationship between death’s eternal questions and the ongoing cycle of nature and life. Upon concluding the poem many readers are able to reaffirm their faith of an afterlife, while others are left aimlessly pondering this strange possibility. Throughout the poem Bryant creates ima
ThanotopsisThanotopsis Thanatopsis When you are sad, go visit nature because it will lift your spirits and when you die go pleasantly, for kings also die and nature will tell you that it is still there with you. That is the theme of this poem by William Cullen Bryant. This essay will be set up in three sections of the poem which will make this theme more easily understood by the reader. The first section is from lines one through seventeen of the poem. In this section Bryant tells the reader how pleasant n
The Connection Of God And Nature In Bryant's ThanaThe Connection Of God And Nature In Bryant\'s Thanatopsis The Connection of God and Nature in Bryant’s “Thanatopsis” “Thanatopsis”, by William Cullen Bryant says that nature tells us different things at different times. When we are having good times, God and nature attribute to that. When we are having bad times, God and nature are willing to help us through our problems. In this poem, Bryant makes a connection between God and Nature through society, imagery, destiny, status, and trust. Although
The Poetry of William Cullen Bryant and Emily DickThe Poetry of William Cullen Bryant and Emily Dickinson: The Theme of Death Many poems are written about death. The two poets William Cullen Bryant and Emily Dickinson were very influential trancendental writers. Bryant writing Thanatopsis And Emily Dickinson\'s Because I Could Not Stop for Death are basically more alike then than they are similar for the fact that there views on Death are the same, but what happens to you after is what is disimiliar,although Dickinsons and Bryants poems are v
Deathdeath Many poems are written about death. The two poets William Cullen Bryant and Emily Dickinson were very influential trancendental writers. Bryant writing Thanatopsis And Emily Dickinson\'s Because I Could Not Stop for Death are basically more alike then than they are similar for the fact that there views on Death are the same, but what happens to you after is what is disimiliar,although Dickinsons and Bryants poems are very different as seen in specific detail. As in both poems death is pr
Gaining Insight on DeathGaining Insight on Death American Literature Death has fascinated and fueled the imaginations of writers over the course of history. Several of the passages we read in this theme are linked by death. These poems call up a dramatic range of emotions from solitary sadness and dark despair, at one extreme, to hope, perseverance, and dreams of restful peace at the other. The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, offers a simplified metaphor of the relationship between life and d
DeathDeath Throughout the history of literature, there have been numerous literary works written on just about any topic that the mind can imagine, but the topic that seems to be written about by every group of writers is death. Death, is the one thing that is a constant in everyone’s life, there is no avoiding it, but there are different ways to look at it. Two different ways to look at it are shown by two of the greatest American writers, Emily Dickinson and William Cullen Bryant. Dickinson wrote a