Essay about Forever Young

1202 Words 5 Pages
Images of people dying young are viewed by many as one of the most tragic and inescapable fates imaginable. People aspire to live long and fruitful lives and would be quite appalled to have a premature death viewed in such a positive manner. However, in Alfred Edward Housman’s “To an Athlete Dying Young” the reader is given just that, an unconventional and oddly justifiable outlook at a young man dying an early death. This theme of short-lived fame during life (and even after death) is clear throughout the piece. It is necessary to be able to distinguish and understand this theme in order to comprehend the poem’s meaning. Throughout his work, Housman employs several prominent types of figurative language as well as archetype to develop …show more content…
However, this line could imply that once the young man had died, he would be unable to see the next superstar athlete come along and edge out his time in the record books. Next, the lines “And silence sounds no worse than cheers / After earth has stopped the ears” (15-16), in addition to being an oxymoron, also refers to death as “silence”, meaning that death tends to eliminate one’s glory. The people cannot hear the cheers because of the silence that consumes the town. “And early though the laurel grows / It withers quicker than the rose" (11-12) The use of metaphor such as “roses" allude to the shortness and delicacy of life. Like the alluring flowers, which flourish only for a short time, then wither and die away, the young runner's life is brief and sweet. Finally, the “laurel” symbolizes both the victory this young man has in this winning this grand race, as well as the short-lived fame, glory and accomplishments in his life. Housman allows the laurel to give the athlete eternal fame even after his untimely death. The term athlete connotes several things, strength, power, endurance and motivation. These words not only reflect just the physical attributes of man, but ideally they encompass the spiritual, mental and emotional capacity to go further and overcome adversity. The most prominent example of the athlete archetypes are those seen in the traditional Olympic games. These individuals train relentlessly, often for many years before being allowed to

Related Documents