Only One of My Deaths by Dean Young: : How Does True Transformation Occur

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    Through the use of biblical allusion, Dean Young’s poem, “Only One of My Deaths,” suggests that God allowed the torture and death of his only son, Jesus, so that man could achieve redemption for his sins. In Dean Young’s poem, Japanese beetles consume rose buds, which represent man’s sins.  The beetles represent Jesus, who is attempting to save man from his sins through his teachings, miracles and conduct.  God realizes that for man to truly change, man needed to change by himself and from within, and that man will not do so as long as Jesus is present. God realizes that “the only way to save the roses is to pluck the Japanese beetles out of their convoluted paradise” (lines 1-3). Similarly, God realizes he needs to pluck Jesus from his “convoluted paradise”, because Jesus thought that his conduct alone could redeem man from his sins. Like the farmer removing the beetle, God removed Jesus, so man could achieve redemption by his own efforts. Not only did God decide to sacrifice his only son for man's sins, he allowed Jesus to be crucified with a crown of thorns on his head, which caused even more pain and anguish to Jesus. In the same way that Jesus suffered a painful death, the narrator suggests that the Japanese beetles’ death be painful because “instead of crushing them in the driveway, of impaling them on the thorns” (lines 5-6). Jesus could have been killed quicker and less painfully and not been forced to endure the lengthy and painful death he suffered. God allowed this so man could redeem himself, have a clean slate from which to live a good and righteous life. Dean Young alludes to the suffering of Jesus on the cross to show that the way to save the rose plant is not by having the Japanese beetles destroy the rose buds, but to have the rose plant change so that the future rose buds are different and redeemed.  The transformation of the rose plant must come from within, rather than from having the beetles eat the buds.  In the larger sense, Dean Young...
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