"The Death of Marilyn Monroe" by Sharon Olds is an interesting poem, which depicts the death of a famous celebrity, and this fact impresses me very much. It is one of the main issues I chose this poem trying to observe it in detailed way. The title of the poem gives an immediate explanation that the plot refers to Marilyn Monroe and that moment, when she was dead. The author makes the reader understand that several men can see such a beautiful woman for the last time, and it changes their life and perception. Certainly, the tone of the poem is sad, and the diction emphasizes a boundless depression of three ambulance men and a general desperation of the whole society.
The poem has several meaningful lines, but the most arresting one is "These men were never the same" (Olds 11). The author describes the first reaction and inner sufferings of the main characters, who transport the corpse, and this event becomes unbearable for them. Marilyn Monroe’s death is like a torture that negatively affect their mind and attitude towards life, in general. It is possible to assume that they will live another life, because their inner world has been altered. Eventually, the woman died, but the most impressive fact is that men cannot accept her death.
The main theme of the poem is death of a well-known actress, Marilyn Monroe and its shocking influence on people that make them lose everything they have in life. The author shows that after the woman’s death, three men start living in despair and solitude. One man becomes impotent and depressed; the second man has no more interest to his job, and neither his wife nor his children are important for him, and all his thoughts relate to mortality; the third one does not control his emotion and begins to live in his own world of imagination. Thus, death, female beauty and sexuality rule human actions and mind, and all of these issues lead to the overall desperation of the society.
"After Great Pain, a Formal Feeling Comes" by Emily Dickinson
The poem "After Great Pain, a Formal Feeling Comes" by Emily Dickinson attracted my attention due to the author’s use of the figurative language within the whole structure from the very beginning to the end of the last line. The plot is full of different images that reinforce the hidden implication of the poem, and it makes me as a reader explore their significance and appropriate meaning. For example, the word "Nerves" is personification as it has some human features; "like Tombs" is simile, which emphasizes human inability to feel. I think it is a precise instance of numbness that appears after sorrow.
The first line of the poem “After great pain, a formal feeling comes” depicts the author’s intention to explain the reader that life is ahead even if one experiences some grief (Dickinson 1). I suppose that it is the most touching line, which hints about the main idea of the plot. Undoubtedly, it is difficult to oppress the emotions after a person has lost the dearest one. Life seems to be stopped, and there is no reason to continue living, but a human mind gradually accepts death, and the soul comes back to life. Thus, there is no burden, which kills its owner even if it is death.
The main theme of the poem also relates to death and the past memories of the narrator, who suffers from loneliness and solitude. The author uses such images as nerves, tombs, and heart in order to portray the woman’s state while focusing on a great loss of the closest person. Moreover, these images show that people can feel dead inside despite the fact that they are still alive and have so many opportunities to live life. Undoubtedly, sorrow makes anyone feel much pain, and it is hard to separate from the past as memories are eternal. Thus, the author demonstrates that death destroys us through pain, but it is necessary to overcome the feelings of a boundless grief.
"If We Must Die" by Claude McKay
The poem "If We Must Die" by Claude McKay shows me as a reader that death is inevitable, but every person must die with honor. The author’s thought that people die but still have an irresistible desire to fight compels me to muse on human nature and inner power. These issues are the main driving force, which demonstrates everybody that death is too close. However, people are completely different from animals, and they deserve to be buried with a ceremony respectively. I also think that the author calls people to die following moral and spiritual values never bringing their dignity down.
The line "If we must die, O let us nobly die" explains that it is obligatory to respect each other even in death (McKay 5). It means that it is necessary to fight to the end using all the bravery we possess. This line is closely connected with the first one, but the speaker changes the second part demonstrating that death must not be shameless. In this case, death causes various images to appear in a human mind, and one starts thinking about a heroic death referred to battles. Besides, the narrator mentions that every human is higher than a hog, and it means that if we encounter death, our duty is to accept it with nobility.
The main theme of the poem is death based on mortality, honor, and masculinity. Mortality helps one to understand the sense of life and the most substantial things that really matter. Masculinity and honor interact with each other as every man must be brave enough to die with honor attempting to avoid any shame. However, the most interesting fact is that the author does not muse on death just theoretically but faces it indeed. The question is not about the period of dying to learn when it will happen. Thus, it is essential to see how one will encounter death.
"Because I could not Stop for Death" by Emily Dickinson
I picked this poem as the author represents the plot through the world of imagination creating the atmosphere of something unreal. This poem completely differs from the previous ones due to the description of the main image, which is death indeed. Death is personified, and it makes the reader plunge into the sequence of events, which show how death deceives the narrator. Moreover, the speaker indicates that death resembles a man, who carries a woman through the whole town revealing that life exists, but not for the woman. Thus, it is the so-called trap that leads to eternity.
“Because I could not stop for Death” is the one of the most arresting and meaningful lines in the poem (Dickinson 1). The author illustrates that the narrator seems to be a ghost from the very beginning as she uses the word “because”. However, it is evident that death is next to the woman, who is unable to stop its appearance, and who does not have any free choice to avoid it. Death is powerful and quite strong to lose, and it has managed to master a female soul and consciousness. Consequently, it races through the end of the day to take away one more life as there will be no woman in the next morning.
Death depicts the main theme of the poem as it is haunting for the speaker without any opportunity to stay on the Earth. The woman is not afraid of her death presenting it as a man, who wants to achieve his primary goal. Consequently, the speaker is a victim of death, and she merely accepts her power based on a desire to disappear with the woman until it keeps an eye on a new victim. On the other hand, the author divides death into mortality and immortality to make the reader concentrate on the afterlife. It means that death is not the end of the woman’s life as she will encounter a new step called eternity.
“The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” by Randall Jarrell
The poem “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” is unusual and sad, but five lines show that the death kills a young man. It is necessary to indicate that the author does not give any particular description of the war by omitting the brutality to understand the horrible consequences. Moreover, the speaker recollects his mother, and it makes the reader feel sympathy for the difficulties and obstacles he is forced to encounter during the war. Thus, the content of the poem makes me think about the fastness of life and its injustice.
I suppose that the line “From my mother's sleep I fell into the State” is the most arresting one as it explains what it will be in the nearest future (Jarrell 1). It proves that being too young, the boy needs to experience the war even if he is not ready. Everything seems to be a nightmare, and there is no other choice to return to the past based on the mother’s care and a peaceful life. Moreover, the state is a place of death, which does not spare anyone. Thus, the first line plays a vital role, because it reveals that the last hope for survival is lost being killed by the war.
The main them is also connected with death, which is represented through the war. It is possible to assume that death appears in the form of the war. In this case, it is evident that the author wants the reader observe life and death through the use of imagery encouraging one to compare these two issues. The reader also can think that the main character is a dead soldier, who says the last farewell to life. Undoubtedly, death rules the world including the war that kills an innocent speaker, who has not managed to learn life yet.
Analysis of My Favorite Poem “If We Must Die” by Claude McKay
“If We Must Die” by Claude McKay is an incredible poem that life depends on death as both reign over human actions and deeds while making considerable efforts to survive. McKay focuses on death and connects it with such important issues as human dignity, moral and spiritual values, and honor. The point is that every man must perceive death as the destiny’s victory over people. Thus, death is an integral part of the poem, and it defines the speaker’s intentions and inner desires to remain a fearless personality while meeting with death.
Death is relentless, but male bravery and fortitude help one to save his dignity thorough a clear conscience. In the poem “If We Must Die”, the author uses many symbols in order to illustrate the so-called enemy in different ways. The images of dogs and hogs reveal that the speaker does not fear people, who are like beasts that are hunting to due to their agonized hunger, which makes them show their nature. Gradually, this association is reinforced, and enemies become completely inhuman. The reader also realizes that the speaker mentions dogs as an extended metaphor, which sends an accurate message referred to a psychological state of the enemies. Thus, it is understandable that all of the existent enemies are less than people as their fighting is unfair.
The only chance to survive is to struggle to the end relying on personal strengths and courage. The author indicates that the dogs just play with their victims in order to frighten them to death. In fact, it is obvious that they are not hungry at all as there is no reason to play with food. As result, the reader notices that the speaker changes his way of the dogs’ representation, and he starts calling them monsters that are senseless creatures. Nevertheless, the narrator treats them with honor as he is a courageous man, who will never give up even realizing that death comes closer and closer. His inner morale does allow him to betray his dignity.
In conclusion, the poem “If We Must Die” explains that it is obligatory to find until the last strengths disappear. Bravery and honor must help people to survive even if it is impossible to resist death. Moreover, mortality is an obvious indicator, which shows people that they must focus on the sense of life and every particular moment by appreciating a new day. Undoubtedly, it is vital to see and meet death with honor as a human mind is higher than death even if it is impossible to fight with it. Death knows it, and thus, it needs more and more victims to establish its boundless power among people on the Earth.