Perspectives on the End of Life in James Dickey's The View From The Hospital Window

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Everyone at some time in their lives must come to the realization that they or others around them will not live forever. After they come to that moment of realization, they will either accept death when it comes and live life to the fullest or deny and live a more sheltered life. James Dickey shows this moment of realization in his poem “The Hospital Window” where a son who has just finished his terminally ill father starts to realize the frail thing called life is compared the great aspect of enjoying life. Dickey’s purpose for this poem is to the reader to realize that life is a feeble thing and one needs to have that revelation for one to truly be able to cherish life and others around oneself. Through Dickey’s use of similes, …show more content…
When the narrator states, “The horns blast at me like shotguns,” this is demonstrating the possibility of death being eminent for everyone around us so that we may cherish them like every day is our last day (Dickey 34). The realization of death’s impending arrival does not truly affect the son anymore and he sees that his life could easily be lost. The son’s realization is shown as he says, “And I turn as blue as a soul,/ As the moment when I was born,” conveying the point that anyone can leave this world as easily as they came into it (Dickey 33-34). The similes utilized in “The Hospital Window,” help to bring not only the emotions, but also the experience that the son goes through if not for only a second.
While the similes bring out many emotions in the reader, another device, metaphors, used by the author to help the reader experience the narrator’s transformative as a person. The fact that the narrator of this poem will most likely never see his father again become apparent when he states, “behind them, all the white rooms/ They turn to the color of Heaven,” therefore expressing an idea of the hospital being a stop on a journey to heaven and his father’s death (Dickey 17-18). The narrator of the poem is able to even sense his father and how close he is to death by stating, “Yet one pure pane among these/Is the bright, erased blankness of nothing,” not only showing the father’s proximity to death but also the connection of father and son (Dickey

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