Life and Death
When one thinks of life and death, two colors come to mind: white and black. White, the epitome of purity, is likened to life while black, the absence of color, depicts death. Life is often thought of as the first start and a new beginning. A young child is like a mere bud in bloom. Just as the color white is pure and unmarked, so is life. In stark contrast to this is the concept of death, which is essentially the end of a chapter and the ceasing of existence. Black, the lack of color and the exact opposite of life, characterizes all that is dark and impure. The two concepts presented by the colors white and black form a dichotomy much like that which is exhibited by the notions of life and death. This, however, is only one perspective. Like life, death can be thought of as a new beginning and the start of another chapter in one’s existence. Life cannot have an opposite, really, because what could one compare to life? In regards to the colors white and black, one could argue that both are merely the absence of color in general, and not in direct opposition to each other. Rather, they are more similar to each other than to other shades and tones due to the fact that they are almost unidentifiable as a color, which is defined as “the quality of an object or substance with respect to life reflected by the object, usually determined visually by hue, saturation, and brightness of the reflected light” (dictionary.com). Louise Glück’s collection of poetry, The Wild Iris, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for its excellence in raising such questions as these. Throughout the work, it adeptly explores the concepts of life and death, and offers both comparisons and contrasts between the two. Like life, death can be considered something new. Though one cannot compare the similarities or contrast the differences between life and death without having been in both situations, Glück manages to offer both viewpoints. From the biological...
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