Literature is an approach that individuals utilize for conveying their thoughts. Among the essential themes explored by them are life, death, and their meaning. Both poems Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas offer a view on the meaning of the two notions. The two literary works explore the topics of life and death with different literary devices, which help convey the meaning of the poems.
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In his poem, Psalm of Life Henry Wadsworth Longfellow explores the theme of life and its glory. The name of the piece applies a specific diction, as the notion of psalm refers to religious motives. The poem has an optimistic tone as it explains the meaning of life and the essential aspects of it. From the beginning of the piece, he rejects a thought that “life is but an empty dream,” applying simile to compare the two.
Longfellow uses metaphors to emphasize the importance of living one’s life fully, which is reflected in the phrase “dumb, driven cattle.” Though the literary approach of metaphor he contrasts two ways of living, one in which an individual is working hard, and the other where a person follows the majority of people. The tone of the piece is cheerful as it declares an optimistic view of the author. The style is reflected in short lines and exclamation marks that contribute to the general character of the piece. Thus, the literary devices applied in the poem Psalm of Life help a reader understand that life is worth living.
Dylan Thomas’s poem Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night has a different tone as the author focuses on the death of a person. The line “blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay” offers a metaphor to the reader. In it, the author states that eyes can reflect emotions even after one’s death. The distinctive aspect of this poem is the two refrains that the poet uses throughout the text, which repeat the main idea of the piece.
The author applies simile to compare aspects of life and death as a light that dies. The diction Thomas uses has many adjectives that explain the notions of light, day, and death. The style of the piece differs from Psalm of Life as it has a divergent structure. Additionally, the piece is graver as it discusses the topic of death. Thus, the selections applied in Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night highlight a different nature of the primary idea that the author explores.
The tone in which the authors convey their thoughts in the two pieces varies, as Longfellow’s work is more cheerful than Thomas’s. Due to the fact that the notion describes one’s attitude towards a subject examining it provides a deeper understanding of the poems’ meaning. It can be argued that Thomas’s tone implies that death is more important and people should not die peacefully or gently. Longfellow rejects such opinion in his work, providing an explanation on how to live one’s life properly, which is the central idea of the piece. The similarities of the two works are reflected in the literary approaches, metaphors, and similes that the two have.
Longfellow emphasizes the importance of living one’s life and not focusing on death. This is evident from the line “grave is not its goal.” Thomas refers to death as the central idea, describing it as “that good night.” The two have a similar development of the themes through the gradual explanation of their core ideas.
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Overall, both authors explore different topics as Longfellow focuses on life while Thomas dedicates his piece to death. The literary approaches that the authors apply are varied, although the two use metaphors and simile in their work. The tone and style of the poems differ, as Psalm of Life is more optimistic and casual. Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night is serious due to the diction that the author applies and the central idea in question.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. “Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Selected Works.” Lit2Go. Web.
Thomas, Dylan. “In Country Sleep, and Other Poems.” GoodReads. Web.