Presence of Death in Literature

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Presence of Death in Literature
Literature often contains themes that allow the reader to relate to the characters. From suicide to murders, death is an inevitable theme seen time and time over not only in real life but also in many types of literary works. It is used by many authors as a main driving force behind the plot as well as a method to add emotions in various works. The presence of death is a reoccurring subject in almost every type of literary work such as novels, short stories as well as plays. Firstly, death is seen in many different novels and is present in almost every genre. Death is even present in many novels aiming for younger readers such as William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” and others. In the novel “Lord of The Flies”, death is a very common subject throughout the story as seen with the deaths of the little’un, Simon and Piggy. For starters, already in the first few chapters, death makes its first appearance as one of the little’uns disappears. “That little’un-’ gasped Piggy – ‘him with the mark on his face, I don’t see him. Where is he now?” (William Golding, p. 46) The little’un was earlier spotted playing in the forest near the mountain top where an accidental forest fire broke out just few moments after. The little’un with the mark on his face is now nowhere to be found and is presumed dead burnt in the fire. Moreover, death is seen a second time later on in the novel when Simon is attacked by all the boys. After his encounter with The Lord of the Flies, Simon manages to make his way back to Jack’s feast only to find a group of boys caught up in frenzy. In their bewildered state of mind, the savage boys descended upon the innocent child thinking he was the best and violently killed him. “At once the crowd surged after it poured down the rock, leapt on the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore” ( William Golding, p.169). Finally, towards the end of the book, death is seen for the third and last time when Piggy and Ralph visit the Castle Rock in hopes of retrieving Piggy’s glasses. However, at the castle rock, the duo encountered and unexpected twist of events which led to Piggy’s death after being crushed by a big boulder of rock thrown by Roger. Although death is seen multiple times in novels, it is also a recurring theme seen in other shorter literary works. Secondly, death is also seen quite often in short stories. Countless authors including Edgar Alan Poe use death as one of the main driving force in there plot line. As a matter of fact, death is seen in almost every Edgar Alan Poe short stories some examples being “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”. To begin with, the theme of death is seen throughout the story “The Tell-Tale Heart” as the main character plots to kill the old man. At the begging of the story, the main narrator explains that he can no longer stand to look into the elderly man’s fake eye and for that reason he must kill him. After a week of planning, the main character finally puts his plan in motion as he rushes in the old man’s house and crushes him to death under his own bed. “He shrieked once -- once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done.” (Edgar Alan Poe, p.5) Likewise, the presence of death is also present in “The Cask of Amontillado” where the main character Montresor vows revenge to his foe Fortunato for the thousand injuries and bane he has caused him in the past. In that short story, Montresor lures Fortunato in the catacomb where he is then entombed alive and left to starvation. Furthermore, death is also seen in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” but this time in a funnier and more farfetched way. In this play, an unnamed narrator and his friend investigate a crime scene only to find out that an Ourang-Outang was in fact the murderer behind the crime. The monkey wield with a razor had completely cut off the head of an old...
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