Death Allows Various Interpretations Essay

1148 words - 5 pages

Death is inescapable, therefore demanding attention by all. Throughout American literature there have been many attempts on explaining death through whatever means comprehendible. Most commonly, people rely on their religion to reveal the answers for the questions associated with death. This approach is demonstrated in the poem, “Upon Wedlock, and Death of Children” by Edward Taylor. His religion dictates his attitude towards death and carries him through grief. There are also those who look at death from a much different perspective, less religiously. In Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I could not stop for Death”, she portrays death as a courtship. She adopts her own image of death disconnected from any religious view. No matter what source, whether it is religious or otherwise, we all have conceptions of death as we trudge onward toward the inevitable. These various conceptions, whether common or criticized, are revealed in the works of Early American Poets such as these.
For New England settlers, death spread with unmerciful vengeance. Striking people of all ages, it became an omnipresent part of life. The Puritan view of death captivated every aspect of life. They believed that God had control over every situation in life, with no immunities. Edward Taylor, a Puritan minister and poet, writes of the death of his children, represented as flowers, in the poem “Upon Wedlock and Death of Children”. He writes “But oh! a glorious hand from glory came / Guarded with Angels, soon did Crop this flower”( 19-20 ), displaying his Puritan view that God is ultimately in control, Taylor claims the occasion of his children’s death to be a glorious divine intervention . However disheartened he is because of the death of his children, his grief is appeased by the acceptance of God’s will. He sees death as it was imposed by God and because of his religious beliefs, is required to embrace all the works of God.
Not only does Taylor portray the death of his children to be an act of God, but a favorable act of God. He attributes the death of his children to God’s favor towards them, and in having his choice, chose them. There is no ambiguity in Taylor’s feelings about death when he writes, “Christ would in Glory have a Flower, Choice, Prime / And having Choice, chose this my branch forth brought / Lord, take't. I thanke thee, thou takst ought of mine”( 26-28 ). He surrenders to the will of God and takes pride in God’s decision to take his children. His Puritan beliefs compel him to not only accept, but to rejoice in this heart wrenching forfeiture ( Stanford ). He furthermore thanks God and requests that he take his children, which are a part of him, to heaven. Taylor ends the poem by writing “In joy, may I sweet flowers for glory breed / Whether thou get’st them green, or lets them seed.” He truly shows his servitude to God by proclaiming that he will have children just so God can take them, whether in infancy or later in...

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