Death of a Toad

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In the poem Richard Wilbur's poem "The Death of a Toad," the speaker conveys his thoughts on the death of a toad. The formal use of structure in this poem shows how unnatural the death of the toad was. The deathly negative diction represents death, and the imagery of the toad's heaven and the descriptive narration of the death utilizes the senses.

The structure of this poem is as unnatural as the death of the toad itself. The use of three stanzas is unbalanced and shows the incomplete life of the toad. The mixtures of completed sentences alongside lines that abruptly stop hinder the flow of the poem. This is connected to the fact that the life of the toad was abruptly stopped by the lawn mower. This poem depicts what happens when the natural cycle of life is disrupted through the rhyme scheme as well. All these elements display the end of the life of a toad, shortened by a man made unnatural machine.

The diction in the poem is also very morbid and symbolizes death. Words such as: ashen, heartsblood, dim, low, final, castrate and haggard are all very negative in connotation and denotation, the "ashen heartshaped leaves, in a dim low, and a final glade" acts as a tomb stone for the toad. The phrase, "as still as if he would return to stone" uses a simile which compares the position of the toad to stone, and the word stone is very lifeless. The use of the word "heartsblood" shows that the speaker does care deeply about the toad and that he feels like his life was cut short without justified cause.

The imagery in the poem is abundant and rich and is the primary element this poem works off of. The speaker tells the story of a dismal situation by depicting nature as destructive and mirroring the frog's life in the way in which the "day dwindles, drowning, and at length is gone". Through those images the speaker's helpless and desolate relationship to the toad emerges. The "misted and ebullient" depict the nature that both the speaker and toad experience, which...
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