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Death: Finality or Everlasting Life

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The loss of a loved one is an emotional and personal experience, and everyone grieves in their own way. Before the healing process can begin, the deceased must be laid to rest and this is usually accomplished with a funeral service. Many people choose a piece to be read at these ceremonies, such as W.H. Auden’s “Funeral Blues” and Mary Elizabeth Frye’s “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep.” It is quite thought-provoking to compare the poems, since the subject matter is the same, however each of these works views death from a different perspective, one negative and the other positive.
Auden’s “Funeral Blues” is perceived through the eyes of the mourner. The tone is sad and the state of mind of the speaker is full of melancholy. Although the main theme of the poem is about death and the shattering impact it leaves on the survivors, there are secondary themes of love and the chaos that ensues in the life of the bereaved. In the first two stanzas, the speaker deals with the rituals of the funeral and wants the world to stand still because the world has stopped for him. The speaker wishes that all sounds be silenced and has a desire for time to stop. Perhaps the speaker demands that every aspect of the funeral be exact as a way to bring control back to his chaotic life since the death of their loved one.
The third stanza uses hyperboles to describe the depths of love between the two people and the line “He was my North, my South, my East and West” leads the reader to believe that the person who died set a course and now the speaker does not know what direction to take. The deceased was the speaker’s whole world. The disappointment the speaker is experiencing is conveyed when he says, “I thought that love would last fo...

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...ing a cherished loved one, that life is no longer worth anything. To the contrary, “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep” is inspiring and gives hope to the reader that death is not final. Many people think that although the physical body dies, that the spirit or soul of the dearly departed lives on and obviously Frye believes this, as well. Similar to Frye, I believe that when the physical body dies, the spirit lives on. Her poem brings a sense of comfort and hope, as opposed to Auden’s poem that leaves the reader with a sense of loss and despair.

Works Cited

Aires, DC. “Analysis of Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep.” Humanities360. (2008), Web.
13 October 2013
“Funeral Blues.” Poetry for Students. Ed. Michael L. LaBlanc. Vol. 10. Detroit: Gale Group,
2001. 138-150. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 13 October 2013.
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