The True Message Of William Cullen Bryant Essay

1090 Words Nov 21st, 2015 null Page
To Live or Not to Live: The True Message of William Cullen Bryant’s “Thanatopsis” Life and death are common subjects seen throughout different written forms for as long as mankind has been around. This statement is definitely true for the poem “Thanatopsis” by William Cullen Bryant. There is no denying that the general themes are about discussing living as well as dying. However, what is ambiguous is which topic Bryant is trying to advocate for.
Although the poem title itself references Thantos, the Greek god of death, I would submit that the real heart of the poem is actually discussing life and how to live. Within the poem itself, Bryant uses vivid visual imagery and enjambment, but another facet to completely understand the driving point behind this poem is the biographical context it takes place in. In order to portray his side effectively, Bryant made sure to have the audience mentally visualize a different way of thinking about life. Since he was a man that placed much importance on nature as a spiritual crutch rather than a deity, it would only make sense that he would incorporate nature into his poetry. In lines 8-13, thoughts of dying are a source of anxiety and can “Make thee to shudder…” (“Thanatopsis” 13). However, we are instructed not to dwell on such thoughts, but rather to step out into nature. Nature is sprawling with life that continues to go on despite what it happening in the microcosm of a person’s life. Bryant subsequently paints a picture of what…

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