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What Is the Meaning of the Poem Thanatopsis?

FAQs Jackson Bowman August 13, 2022

‘Thanatopsis’ by William Cullen Bryant is a poem of encouragement and reverence for life and death. It informs us that everyone dies, no matter how big or small you are in life. We all share this ending and so should embrace it as a last reassurance of calm and comfort.

What is the main idea of Thanatopsis?

Death. Death is definitely the big idea in Thanatopsis. From the title to the last line, this is a poem about dying. It looks at the problem from different angles.

How does the poem Thanatopsis portray death?

Death is presented as a normal, predictable part of human existence: “As the long train of the ages glides by, the sons of men, youth in life’s verdant spring, and he who enters the full By the power of years, matron and maid, the speechless baby and the grey-haired man – one by one these are gathered to your side…

Why was Thanatopsis so important?

In its reflections on a magnificent, omnipresent nature, “Thanatopsis”, whose Greek title means “sight of death”, shows the influence of deism and in turn influenced the transcendentalist ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. The poem made Bryant famous early on and established him as an important nature poet.

What does Thanatopsis say about nature?

By William Cullen Bryant

“Thanatopsis” is definitely a poem about death, but it’s also a nature poem. People come and go, but nature is always there. The hills and rivers are eternal, huge and almost intimidating. This isn’t Finding Nemo-style nature here.

What does the still voice in line 17 of Thanatopsis say will happen to the individual being?

After the “silent voice” introduced in line 17, what will happen to the individual being? How do the images in lines 27-30 reinforce this idea? He or she will die, be buried and become part of the elements of nature.

References:

  1. https://www.shmoop.com/thanatopsis/themes.html
  2. https://penandthepad.com/death-portrayed-poem-thanatopsis-20496.html
  3. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Thanatopsis
  4. https://www.shmoop.com/study-guides/poetry/thanatopsis/themes/man-and-the-natural-world
  5. https://quizlet.com/117109644/the-tide-rises-the-tide-falls-thanatopsis-old-ironsides-from-snowbound-flash-cards/

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