Denotation and Connotation: To the Mercy Killers
Poetry is one of the hardest things to define because it has different meanings to different people. However, there is poetry where it is easy to decipher if people can figure out what type of poetry the author intended it to be such as denotative poetry or connotative poetry. “To the Mercy Killers” written by Dudley Randall in 1973 is an example of a denotative poem about euthanasia and how people should keep living no matter what the costs. To understand poetry first people must understand the difference between denotation and connotation. Denotation is he explicit or direct meaning or even the set of meanings of a word or expression. This is basically what someone would find in a dictionary. This type of writing is often used by scientists or philosophers. Connotation is the figurative or cultural assumptions that the image supplies or suggests. When writing in connotative style the meaning can be inferred by personal or individual experience, group, general or universal. This type of writing is often used by literary artists as well as advertisers or propagandists. “To the Mercy Killers” is a poem written about euthanasia because euthanasia is often referred to as mercy killing. Before one even begins to read the poem, the title shows what the poem is going to be about. Euthanasia is painlessly allowing or aiding someone to die who has a serious illness or incurable disease. This poem is about euthanasia because “never conspire with death to set me free but let me know such life as pain can give. Even though I be a clot, an aching clench…a screaming pain, a putrefying stench, still let me live, so long as life shall throb” (McMahan 623). The person does not want to die no matter how much pain they are suffering through instead they would rather bare through the pain and know that in life there is pain and we should live through it instead of caving I and taking the easy road out. In “To the Mercy Killers”...
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