Walter Podbielski Professor Harris HUMN 420 Week 3 assignment 01/26/08 For week 3 assignment I chose the Van Gough painting and the corresponding poem “The StarryNight” by Anne Sexton. The poem references death rather frequentlyand I think that night in some way goes hand in hand with death. In contrast morning and daylight give way to life, the flowers opening up to the sun’s warmth and birds awaking; the day begins. The painting shows a town at night, which is asleep, quiet and peaceful. During the day the town is alive with people doing their day to day activities, the birds are singing and the cows, horses and sheep are out grazing; it is full of life. Each person has a different vision of peacefulness,to some it is a small town in the summertime with animals grazing in the fields, birds singing and the warmth of the summer sun. Some people find the night as the peaceful time. During the day the children are playing and laughing, during the night they lie peacefully asleep. The author of this poem is describing death, while no one really wants to die but when they come to accept the fact that death is eminent one thinks of when, how or where they will die. Some want to die with family and friends at their bedside while others prefer to be alone. At the moment of death it is said that one experiences a peaceful state no matter of the surroundings. An example of this peacefulness is in the movie “Gladiator” actor Russell Crowe is dying as he is lying there he is dreaming of walking through the wheat fields of his farm. In the distance he sees his wife and son and they are running to greet him, the whole scene is surreal and in slow motion to give the feeling of tranquility and peacefulness. Just as the director describes this scene of death in “Gladiator”; the author of the poem “The Starry Night” uses the tranquility and peacefulness of the painting “Starry Night” by Van Gough to describe her own vision of death.
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