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Bradstreet vs Pain Poem Analysis

By Anh1234 Oct 23, 2011 711 Words
Both "In Memory of My Dear Grandchild" by Anne Bradstreet and "Meditaion 8" by Philip Pain express two contrasting point of views in relation to death. Bradstreet's diction and use of literary elements, such as metaphors and alliteration, are skillfully arranged throughout the poem which aid in making the theme of dying seem inevitable. Pain uses two different tones to create a turning point in his thoughts about halfway through his poem which gives the reader a better idea of his stages of feelings towards passing away. Each poet describes the theme of death according to their personal experiences and thoughts and makes whoever reads their work think about life in a different way. Life is precious and can not be wasted.

Throughout Bradstreet's poem, she is very calm and accepting of her grandchild's death and her emotions are very controlled. This is probably because of her Puritan faith in which she practices the belief in heaven and in God, being the ruler of life. Although Elizabeth was young when she died, this poem about the loss of a loved one stresses that everyone will eventually cease to exist whether that person is juvenile or elderly. Simple descriptions of affection like "dear babe", "sweet babe" and "fair flower" compound the pathos employed by Bradstreet in the opening three lines of her poem. By repeating the word "farewell" in all three lines it is evident that saying goodbye was prolonged and painful. As the poem progresses, the line "Then ta'en away unto eternity" shows, not only alliteration, but that Elizabeth was, in a way, stolen from Anne Bradstreet and it also abruptly announces the child's death. Anne Bradstreet makes her questioning explicit by asking why she should mourn Elizabeth's death even when she knows that her grandchild is "...settled in an everlasting state." in heaven. All through the piece, there is a strong use of verbs that help describe how Bradstreet is feeling in her time of loss. In the next line Bradstreet's use of "bewail" signifies her deep grief for the death of her precious relative. Other words such as "terminate", "rot", "mown" and "eradicate" all build upon

each other in order to express the horror of the adolescent's decease. By making various references to the life cycles in nature, a metaphor is created to unmistakably link the environment's changes to a lost life.

Pain is very nonchalant about death in the beginning when he hears discussions between the people around him talking about the losses in their families or among their friends. About midway through his poem, he becomes very aware and even afraid when he thinks about what it would be like to stop living. The original dismissal of death spells out Philip Pain's doom. He is overwhelmed, frightened and his "...pulses all would beat..." by the thought of not existing any longer and he is not very thrilled about eventually dying. Compared to Bradstreet's poem, Pain's is noticeably shorter, but he gets his point across easily. The deaths of others echoes in the nervous pulse of the poet who is "Drown'd in this deluge of security". By ending his poem with this line there is a sense of irony added from the word "deluge", which is a flood. His entire poem talks about dying and how he doesn't want to be susceptible to it, but he uses "Drown'd" where there is no escaping being killed.

Everyone has their own perception about death. Some fear it and others are more willing to accept that their day will come whether that time is near or far. Pain does not become upset over the deaths of people he is not familiar with, much like how everyone reacts today when looking at the obituaries in the daily newspaper. Many individuals die each day and nobody really pays attention, unless they were famous, related to them, or knew them. With 1.8 deaths per second, 108 per minute, 6,480 per hour, 155,520 per day and so on, who is next? Anne Bradstreet knows that dying is unescapable and she is not afraid of it, but Philip Pain is very fearful of losing his own life.

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