Essay on The Death of a Toad by Richard Wilbur

768 Words Apr 6th, 2007 4 Pages
Some people do not care or even notice killing a toad while mowing a lawn, but some do. In Richard Wilbur's poem, "The Death of a Toad", the speaker runs over and kills a toad while mowing his lawn and feels great distress for his action. The speaker shows sympathy for the amphibian as he describes the peaceful scene of the toad's fatal injury and his last minutes alive. Wilbur uses the formal elements of structure and syntax, diction, and imagery to help convey the speaker's sadness towards the death of a toad. From his "hobbling hop" (line 2) to his "antique eyes" (16), the speaker exemplifies his sympathetic feelings toward the creature's death. Wilbur's excellent use of diction can be seen throughout all three stanzas. Beginning …show more content…
The vision of peace draws to an end as the "day dwindles" (15), slowly fading peacefully as opposed to abruptly after the toad's death. Imagery throughout the stanzas also helps in depicting the speaker's sympathy towards the deceased toad. After reading the poem, the reader can probably envision the toad being injured by the lawn mower, and slowly accepting his death. When he is making his way to the garden's edge with his "hobbling hop" (2) the reader can picture a toad with an injured limb almost stumbling to seek shelter "under the cineraria leaves, in the shade" (5). You cannot help but feel sorry for this small creature who is inching his way towards his death. The poor toad seeks protection under the leaves and feels safe being away from the dangerous lawn mower. One image that stands out is when the toad is almost at his final moment and the "Day dwindles, drowning, and at length is gone / In the wide and antique eyes" (15-16). One can image the sun setting and seeing this reflection in the tired eyes of the toad. A few moments later, he is drifting "toward misted and ebullient seas / And cooling shores" (13-14) and is gone. He passes into a toad heaven where death is soothed by the "cooling shores" (14) and hurt no longer exists among "ebullient seas" (13). Use of syntax and structure also reveal the speaker's feelings and

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