Longfellow’s Eloquent Approach to Death: Analysis of Death in Two Poems
Death is an uneasy topic to talk about and causes nearly everyone to have negative feelings for it. Although it is inevitable and also an important part of life, people try to avoid the topic altogether because it gives them discomfort. Because it is such an important subject, one must break the awkward silence and address the topic. Longfellow makes death seem like a natural thing which must come to all living things through his rich comparisons to nature and ordinary life. In “The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls” he compares the continuous rising and falling of tides to a nameless traveler, and in his poem, “Nature” he compares nature and humans as the relationship between a strict mother and her child.
In Longfellow's poem, “The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls” he fluently articulates the differences between tides and a nameless traveler. Symbolically, the tides represent the continuous cycle of life and the traveler just represents every single human being in the world. The emphasis on “The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls” at the end of each stanza shows that no matter what happens in an individual's life, life in general and the tides are just going to go on without a single care about the world (5). Additionally, Longfellow gives the traveler no descriptive identity and only labels him as “The Traveler” (4). Because of the word choice, it further shows how unimportant a single person is in the grand scheme of things. Furthermore, there is a distinctive contrasting detail throughout the poem. In many places, Longfellow incorporates light and dark settings into the poem. For example, when darkness settles, the “sea in the darkness...Efface the footprints in the sands” (7-9). The footprints that were in the sand were left by the traveler, and by effectively removing them, it clearly shows that the travelers presence is forever forgotten at the beach. Additionally because “[the traveler]...
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