Thomas and Updike: A Comparison
Death surrounds us throughout our lifetime. Death is an unavoidable daily occurrence. Many of us are born in hospitals, where death occurs. The hospital serves as a place to begin life and a place where life comes to an end. Death has occurred in public places that we feel safe in and take our families and loved ones to for recreation and relaxation. Much of the Eastern United States has suffered death throughout early civilization and during the civil war. We may not know of the death that occurred in a home or a hotel where we are staying for the night. Death is explained in an acceptable and welcoming way when it is brought to us through poetry. When one knows that death is coming, they may want to be surrounded by family and friends so they can spend their last moments with their loved ones. This gives a sense acceptance and makes the dying feel more comfortable and allows them to take the happy thoughts and images of those around them with their spirit as they go into the afterlife. The poem “Dog’s Death,” by John Updike shows a family’s love and admiration for their family pet. Their dog wishes to die in peace and quiet, but the family rushes off to the vet to try and save her life. The poem “Do not go gentle into that good night,” by Dylan Thomas is focusing on the reader pleading for his father to fight off death and live. When comparing and contrasting both of these poems, one can assume that the father in “Do not go gentle into that good night,” and the dog in “Dog’s Death,” simply just wished to die in peace. These two poems will be compared and contrasted based on their content, form, and style. The poems will be compared in depth on their likeliness to one another and their differences. Both of these poets have a different way of presenting death. Even though each poem is different in its own meaning, they are relatively similar in comparison with the inevitable end, which is death. John Updike was born March 18, 1932 in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He is famous for many writings throughout his lifetime. Updike began his remarkable career as a poet in 1958 by publishing his first volume, a collection of poems titled The Carpentered Hen. He was first established as a major American writer upon the publication of his novel Rabbit Run, which took off for success and he went on to write an entire series throughout his life (as cited in The Biography Channel 2005). Dylan Thomas was born in the Uplands area of Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales, on October 27, 1914. History states that Thomas was indulged like a child and he was, in fact, still a teenager when he published many of the poems he would become famous for: “And death shall have no dominion" “Before I Knocked” and “The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower". "And death shall have no dominion", appeared in the New English Weekly in May 1933 and further work appeared in The Listener in 1934 catching the attention of two of the most senior poets of the day T. S. Eliot and Stephen Spender ( as cited in Cyr, M. D. 1998 Pg 207). Dylan Thomas’s poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” has been listed as him most famous and easily accessible poem that he has written. When reading Dylan Thomas’s poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” one can assume that he wrote the poem about his own father’s death. The poem takes place at the bedside of his father. His father is slowly dying, willing to accept death and is awaiting his demise. The father does not care about the actions that are taking place around him, or his sons begging will for his father to fight off death and live. The speaker is begging his father not to give in to death, but to fight with all his strength: “Do not go gentle into that good night, Rage, rage against the dying of the light” (As cited in Clungston, 2010 Chapter 12.5 Pg. 296, par. 3). The speaker is telling his father not to go towards the bright light that is commonly...
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