Do not go gentle into that Good Night and for Eleanor Boylan talking with God
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Pain and Sorrow in Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that Good Night” and Sexton’s “for Eleanor Boylan talking with God”
The end our road that is life, is death and the second we begin to live, we begin to die. A rendition of death and the loss of a loved one is expressed in two different lights in Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that Good Night” and Anne Sexton’s “for Eleanor Boylan talking with God”. Both express the fear and vulnerability of losing someone you thought should live forever Thomas’ message is an imperative one a dark and tangible energy whereas Sexton’s tone is more passive and quiet and more driven by sorrow than anger. But as there is an underlying sense of sorrow in Thomas’ villanelle, there is also a sense of quiet anger.
In “For Eleanor Boylan Talking With God”, Sexton expresses the pain of losing a loved one. There is a surreal quality to the poem, Sexton seems to write as she thinks with a thought inciting a memory; she communicates her feelings in a very literal concrete way but the poem is still very abstract because there is so little linking these images, adding on to the feeling that you are looking into Sexton’s very mind and heart. She talks about Eleanor, a friend who is more beautiful than her mother; this intimate compliment can be interpreted as more dear than even her mother. An aspect of Eleanor that Sexton respects is her closeness with God, there is a child-like trust depicted when the author writes about Eleanor in the kitchen “motioning to God”. Possibly because Eleanor is wearing a lemon-colored sundress, the reader imagines her with a smile and she feels the acceptance at her own death that Sexton cannot find. Eleanor has more faith than the author in God and who has maintained this faith even when she is dying.
Sexton wrote that God “had a face when she was six and a half” meaning he was a tangible figure. The six-year-old Sexton had a familiarity with God, she knew what he looked like; he was her friend, as is the feeling in most children about God. But this image of god has become a huge jellyfish that covers the sky. There is no comfort in a slimy jellyfish and Sexton does not find any comfort in God.