Perspectives on the End of Life in James Dickey's The View From The Hospital Window

Perspectives on the End of Life in James Dickey's The View From The Hospital Window

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Everyone at some time in their lives must come to the realization that they or others around them will not live forever. After they come to that moment of realization, they will either accept death when it comes and live life to the fullest or deny and live a more sheltered life. James Dickey shows this moment of realization in his poem “The Hospital Window” where a son who has just finished his terminally ill father starts to realize the frail thing called life is compared the great aspect of enjoying life. Dickey’s purpose for this poem is to the reader to realize that life is a feeble thing and one needs to have that revelation for one to truly be able to cherish life and others around oneself. Through Dickey’s use of similes, metaphors, and imagery he is able to fully convey his purpose for this poem and allow for his readers to have a new view of life from the hospital window.
The way that James Dickey uses the similes allow for readers to not only read the comparison but to feel the emotions themselves as if they are the son in the poem. A part of the poem that shows the revelation of the son on life and death is when he says “the traffic increases around me/ Like a madness called down on my head,” demonstrating this revelation can be a sort of madness to some, but at the same time a gift to them (Dickey 32-33). Madness is most of the time known just to be associated with insane people. However, one must remember some of the most famous people were people thought to be mad. The author helps to instill the emotions that the son is going through when the son says “I wave, like a man catching fire,” showing to importance of showing love to a loved one that one may never see again (Dickey 15). The way the son shows hi...


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...start to understand death and not to be afraid of it. Death is the most common fear among people and the author’s goal is to help others accept that death is not a tragedy on the contrary it is to be celebrated. The son’s transformation through this shows his fear of death for himself and his father to peace when the son utters, “I am not afraid for my father/…[and] his not afraid for my life, either,” communicating the idea of death being something that will happen no matter what. Death may be one of the most common fears, but fear will never hurt more than regret for one that does not live their lives to the fullest. “The Hospital Window” fulfills its purpose of helping others start to understand death in a superb way.



Works Cited

Dickey, James. “The Hospital Window”. The Vintage Book Of Contemporary American Poetry. New York, 2003. Print. 21 January 2014.

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