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Comparison of the poems Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas and Return to the headland by Tony Curtis.

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Introduction

Comparison of the poems Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas and Return to the headland by Tony Curtis Ozhan O'Sullivan The two poems are both based on the death of the writers' fathers. Each poet's experience and view of death is very different however. In examining and comparing both poems I will state the differences and similarities that emerge. Looking first at the titles, Dylan Thomas's is dynamic and sends a message to his father. The title could be seen as a plea. It gives the impression that Dylan is helpless in the face of his father's death and that he has resorted to pleading to him. In contrast Curtis's title tells us where the poem is set and acts as a quick preview. We can tell from the title that Curtis is returning to the headland so he has obviously been there before and has past memories. The fact that the poets build their contents on the death of their fathers causes a similarity in their emotions. However their views of their fathers' are very different. Thomas wrote the poem when his father was facing death and openly shows his rage due to the frustration and sadness of losing his father. He believes his father should "rave" and struggle to try and fight death, "Old age should rave and burn at close of day ". Dylan Thomas's frustration is brought on him by the fact that he wants his father to show the same fighting determination ...read more.

Middle

He believes life should be lived, enjoyed and experienced to the full because when death comes it is over for good. Thomas says how it is too late for a person to wait for death to learn that there is no afterlife, "And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way". Curtis has a total lack of faith for the funeral ritual and associated beliefs about the afterlife. However, because his mother does have these views, he compromises and goes along with the ritual so as not to disappoint her. He doubts though that his father is still living in the ashes after he has been cremated, "What we're told are your ashes", confirming his lack of faith. Curtis and Thomas both use imagery to emphasise certain aspects in their poems. Curtis uses the headline and coastline as a setting. He shows the mood through the weather. He uses "long summer of rain" to give the impression of a depressed and dull mood. Thomas uses the weather also along with natural aspects as imagery. He uses the word "lightning" to demonstrate his ferocity and raging emotions. He also uses images of the sea; "wave by", "green bay" helps express the wavy difficulty has to put up with to grieve his father's death and shows his difficulty in trying to get his father to fight death. There are differences in rhyming patterns in both poems. Dylan Thomas shows a compact verses because he uses two rhyming patterns of an A, B, A system. ...read more.

Conclusion

However Tony Curtis writes, "Return to the headland" in a traditional descriptive realistic English writing style, "I step off the path to the slope pf rocks and two rabbits break for cover." The two poems are both very powerful in different ways. "Do not go gentle into that good night" shows a very depressed perspective of death while "Return to the headland" shows a calmer view. However I empathise and agree more with Dylan Thomas's view of death, even though I have not experienced what he did. I believe I would react much like he did, because death is a very disturbing event and causes a mixture of emotions, such as helplessness, depression, anger and confusion. I am also disturbed by the coldness of feelings that Curtis expressed and think he should have been more respectful of his father's death. However, I do agree with his rejection of the Christian belief of death and afterlife, the idea that the dead go where we send them and his cynical views of funeral rituals that have to be observed so as not to upset others. In conclusion it is obvious that both poets reacted to death differently. Dylan Thomas does not accept death and believes it can be fought of whilst Curtis sees it as a normal part of life and deals with it calmly. Thomas cannot express his true emotions to his father so he decides to show his feelings in a poem. Curtis's belief that "the dead go where we send them," is true ; if we remember a loved one they shall live on within us. ...read more.

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