Thantopsis and the Road Theme Death

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AP English
Period 5

William Bryant uses imagery of Nature’s beauty to create a theme that death is beautiful and serene, while Cormac McCarthy uses imagery darkness and dead things to create a theme that death is scary and dark. Bryant’s perception of death shows that it is interconnected with nature at which it is a life cycle. He shows us a different perspective on how death is. His use of creative imagery of nature to death creates the theme of death being not as bad as it seems. McCarthy’s view of death differs from Bryant’s view. McCarthy uses a post-apocalyptic world where nature is dead to support the theme that death is horrible. Both authors use imagery to show the relationship between life and death to create themes opposite of each other. In Thanatopsis, the author shows the theme about death by comparing it to nature’s beauty. Most people see death as horrible, but Bryant shows an in-depth meaning to it. The poem starts off by personifying nature as a beautiful female, “…and a smile and eloquence of beauty” (Lines 4-5), who will always be there for you to make you feel better, “Into his darker musings, with a mild and healing sympathy.”(Lines 6-8) The poem takes a shift and talks about how death feels like “Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall and breathless darkness, and the narrow house,” (Lines 11-12) and the idea of being in pain in a dark coffin. The poem continues going back and forth on nature’s beauty and death, and soon connects it back to the theme. “Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again, (Line 23)” shows that after death is another phase of life itself, and we will return to be one with nature. Our dead decomposing bodies will be mixed in with nature, “Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould. (Line 30)” Bryant compares nature to a coffin, “Are but the solemn decorations all of the great tomb of man.” (Line 44-45), to show the coffins of dead people created nature’s beauty, the valleys, hills, rivers. Bryant leaves a...
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