Thursday, March 24, 2011

The readings this week were of a darker nature than usual. Emily Dickinson’s poems, coupled with Ernest Hemingway’s short story painted a macabre picture of death. This theme continued when I went to see the movie “The Bride of Frankenstein.” The fear and acceptance of death is a very significant part of human life.

In “The Bride of Frankenstein,” Dr. Frankenstein “defies God” again and creates another life. This does not go to plan, however, because his new creation still does not love his original monster. I feel that this story is showing us that if we do not accept the human limitations, such as death, then we will not be able to live happy lives. We must accept our human nature.

In Ernest Hemingway’s short story, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” we see a man who does not seem happy. His wife has cheated on him after he proved himself to be a coward. His death at the end of the story came as a surprise to me. I felt that he would redeem himself through the story, but when his wife shot him I was completely shocked. This man was far to young to meet his demise, but the story reminds us how fragile human life is. We will never know if today will be the last day that we live. It is a very sobering thought.

In the poem “Tell the Truth but Tell it Slant,” the idea that “ignorance is bliss” is brought to the forefront. Many people feel that they would be happier if they did not have to know the entire truth, and this poem confirms that. Emily Dickinson talks about the human race’s inability to live with the complicated truths of life. Throughout history, many civilizations have created story and folklore to try to explain the truths that they do not understand. I feel that this poem gives a great deal of insight into that same idea. Humans try to bend the truth to comfort and benefit themselves.

“Success is Counted Sweetest” is a poem that draws from an ancient argument. “If you do not know cold, then how can you appreciate warm.” It is the idea that one does not understand true happiness without experiencing misery. This is an idea that I have firmly believed in my entire life. You have to embrace the tough parts in life to enjoy the easy. Someone who simply cruises through life will not realize how good he or she really has it. Emily Dickinson does a great job explaining this idea.

“I Head a Fly Buzz When I Died” brings us back to the idea of human fear of death. The speaker is lying on her deathbed, clearly wishing to be alive. The sound of the fly “buzzing” is her last chance to try to stay on this earth. She is listening to the sound, trying to will herself to life, and stay connected with the living.

The poem, “Because I Could Not Stop for Death,” encompasses some ideas from all of the other works. The poem is an excellent depiction of how truly fragile life is, and how every moment can be our last. We are not guaranteed stay on this earth. We don’t have a set amount of time we can live, and this poem shows those ideas excellently.

Why is it that the human race is so afraid of death? Why are we the only animals that think about it? When elephants die, they walk to the graveyard to die peacefully, why is it that mankind cannot embrace such a natural phenomenon? These questions have been asked since the invention of language, and I fear that we will never have an answer.

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