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By close reference to two poems explore the themes of Life and Death in the Work of Dylan Thomas

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Introduction

* By close reference to two poems explore the themes of Life and Death in the Work of Dylan Thomas. Thomas has been described as a surrealist, a primitive, a Welsh bard, and a metaphysical poet. He is most commonly called a twentieth-century Romantic as death and the afterlife intrigued him. However, he was not surrounded by death as he was growing up. On the contrary, "He was pretty, he was spoiled, and he was the darling of the family. As far as love and attention go, he seems to have lacked nothing" (Ferris 25). Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea, Wales, on October 27, 1914. He was the only son and second child of his parents. He enjoyed his younger years in Wales, and his later works reflect his desire to relive his happy childhood. He wrote poems reminiscent of his childhood and lost innocence. However in most of Thomas' early works, themes of life and death permeate. This theme of life and death is particularly prevalent in the following three poems: "And Death Shall Have No Dominion," "Fern Hill. ...read more.

Middle

Love will continue its purpose of regeneration, and death will not rule life (Magill 68). Thomas tries to convey a feeling of hope in this stanza. He believes that as terrible as death is, there is still love and it will carry on forever. The second stanza works with images of death and of torture, and plays on the paradox that the broken will remain whole: "And death shall have no dominion / Under the windings of the sea" (10-11) is referring to someone dying under the sea, and "Split all ends up they shan't crack" (17) is referring to the paradox that the broken will remain whole. The third stanza is saying that whatever happens to the world, death will never rule. In lines such as, "No more may gulls cry" (20) and a "break in the sun till the sun breaks down / And death shall have no dominion," (26-27) Thomas shows the reader that even if the sun never shines again death will not rule. ...read more.

Conclusion

However Thomas's views of childhood in the first stanzas are "contrasted in the final stanzas with the regret of the adult as he recalls the loss of the innocence and splendor of childhood" (Korg 93). The turning point in the poem comes when the child realizes his youth will not last forever: "And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows / In all his tuneful turnings so few and such morning songs" (42-43). The child knows time allows such mornings but he also understands that he will not always be there to enjoy them. As the speaker changes from the child to the adult, he looks back on everything during his childhood and realizes that "time held [him] green and dying" (54). This line means that time is keeping the narrator until it is his time to die. He is only around until time allows him to leave this world. Time is the enemy of everyone and the "final transition from the remembered glories of childhood to the reality of the adult world is irrevocable" (Korg 93). Thomas presents a vivid image of how quickly one's life can pass and a universal desire to recapture youth. ...read more.

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