Representation of Death Term Paper

Pages: 10 (3843 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: College Freshman  ·  Topic: Literature

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] When God asks him why, he mocks Almighty God by saying essentially that any man could stand to see his son in pain and could stand there with pride as he took the whip and nails. He says with sarcasm that if God would have had a daughter, He couldn't have borne her passion (as if to say God doesn't know what it feels like to have a daughter). As God tells Luke that he loves in weakness, Luke defensively snaps back by saying, "…as you love me" (Clugston R.W., 2010). This shows us that Luke, in fact, is spiritually dead because he is unable to recognize with whom he is speaking.

A visit from Luke's daughter Jennifer, who comes home to visit her father more than any of her brothers, reveals that Jennifer had just caused the physical Death of a stranger. A night out drinking with friends became a tragic experience for Jennifer in the short story. Once Jennifer dropped her friends' home, she drove through the hills toward her father's house and she hit something that seemed to be a person. Upon her return home, Jennifer awakes her father to tell him of the accident. Luke calms his daughter down and tries to understand what has happened to her. She gives graphic detail about her driving experience including details about the weather before finally admitting to hitting something, or someone for that matter. Luke, being a seriously concerned and probably intoxicated father, goes out to the scene where Jennifer described the accident. He finds that it was a man that was hit by Jennifer and he was, in fact, dead. This is the physical Death experience represented in this story. Luke seems to have a bigger respect for the physical Death because he described himself as highly emotional when he sees that guy lying on the ground, face-down with one arm close to his body and his other arm extended from his shoulders. The description of the dead man was detailed so that without going any further, the reader could deduce that the guy was surely dead. Luke describes the guy as not having a pulse or heartbeat, having blood leaking from his mouth, and upon ear-to-chest listening, Luke describes the young man as having a gurgling water and air sound in his chest for a moment. The description of the young man was the description of physical Death.

The poem "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" opens by acknowledging the anonymity of Death, even as it humanizes the actions of Death by saying it stopped for her as another human being might stop for her. There is an absence of emotion from the character because of the uncontrolled nature of Death. The character who speaks from Death is emotionally dead because there is no use for emotions in Death. The character in the poem didn't cry, mourn, or lament one time but spoke in a tone of acceptance to the inevitability of Death. In the absence of emotions, the character spoke clearly on how she felt being dead. This represents the emotional Death experience in this poem. The character speaks of having to put away her labor and leisure, passing the school where the children played at recess, and passing the fields of gazing grain. She speaks from her own perspective and not once did she expound on any emotional feelings toward what she saw as she passed those places. The character, instead, imputes those emotions on the reader and the reader can feel what the character would feel about what was seen if she wasn't dead. The character almost pulls the emotions out of the reader (Joly, 2002).

There is a simple sense of hopelessness at the end of the poem when the author explains that the only stop they made was the stop at the grave plot which she describes as a house that seemed like a swelling of the ground. She explains that it has been centuries since they stopped there and yet each century seems shorter than the day she first concluded that she was riding through time and into eternity. She speaks with a tone of hopelessness because she obviously believes that where she is now is where she will always be. She describes her grave plot as a house, implying that she was now at her new home. There is no mention of God or any belief in a higher power in this poem, as opposed to the short story. Any believer in God knows that Death and the grave are merely conduits through which we pass from this life here on earth to the eternal life in Heaven or Hell, but to the character in this poem, the grave is where the buck stops. There is no hint of faith or belief in God or hope in the Resurrection from the grave which signifies the spiritual Death experience in this poem. The author doesn't speak of anything other than the grave as the ultimate resting place. The character says that each passing century is not as long as the day she realized that the horses were navigating her into eternity as if she dreaded that day that she'd be escorted into eternity by this undeniable gentleman caller (Joly, 2002).

The character, however creative she is in describing it, is dead. The entire poem is based on the inevitable Death of the character. This represents the physical Death experience. The poem doesn't get into detail about when, where, or how the character died but the final point of the poem was that the character, in fact, had actually died and was speaking first-hand about her physical Death experience, which was decorated and glazed with a wonderful word play. She explains in the first stanza that "…the carriage held but just ourselves and immortality" (Clugston, 2010). This verse implies the solitude of the physical Death experience and the fact that Death is a lonely experience meant for one person at a time. It implies that physical Death has no room for things accumulated in time by man and once Death comes for a person, that person can't take anything on the "carriage ride to eternity" (Clugston R.W., 2010). The character has a sense of respect for Death. Seeing as how she can't do anything about being dead anyway, she has no choice but to respect the arrival of her eternal escort. Physical Death is the most apparent experience in this poem and is the biggest part of the dissection of what the poem really represents or means.

"A Father's Story" and "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" both have some of the same tones and experiences by the characters. Though the differences in length are blindingly apparent, the meanings of both of these pieces of literature are similar in that by the conclusion of both of them; the reader will have acquired a mental picture of what Death actually is and ultimately how inevitable Death really is. The differences in the emotional Death experiences in the two pieces of literature are clear in that the character in the short story once knew emotional awakening until his wife divorced him and left with the kids in a U-Haul. That experience was followed by the emotional Death experience for Luke because he was a Catholic man taught to believe that he could never love or marry again after having married before. In the poem, the reader has to assume that the character knew emotional vitality at some point in her life because the poem opens with "Because I could not stop for Death…" (Clugston, 2010) implies that the character was enjoying her life. The fact that she couldn't stop for Death meant that she was too busy enjoying life and that she was enjoying it to the fullest. She later says how she had to "…put away my labor and my leisure too, for this civility" (Clugston, 2010). She had to stop enjoying the labors and leisure of life when Death came for her.

The differences in the spiritual Death experiences in these two pieces are also apparent because in the short story, Luke, although he confessed to not be a "real Catholic" (Smith, 2007), he still practiced some of the principles of the Catholic faith in that he followed the principle of marrying only once. He deemed the Catholic lifestyle "unable to be lived" (Smith 2007), in so many words. He was spiritually dead because although he wanted to find fulfillment the right way, at the end of the story he argues in arrogance with the very God who never spoke to him until that point. At the end of the story when he could hear God speaking to him, he insulted God by saying that He loved Luke in weakness. This was the seal that Luke was spiritually dead. On the other… [END OF PREVIEW]

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