The Theme of Death in Poetry
Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson are two Modern American Poets who consistently wrote about the theme of death. While there are some comparisons between the two poets, when it comes to death as a theme, their writing styles were quite different. Robert Frost’s poem, “Home Burial,” and Emily Dickinson’s poems, “I felt a Funeral in my Brain,” and “I died for Beauty,” are three poems concerning death. While the theme is constant there are differences as well as similarities between the poets and their poems.
The obvious comparison between the three poems is the theme of death. Both poets, in these works and many others, display a fascination with the death of themselves as well as the death of peers, and loved ones. Both Frost and Dickinson experienced a great deal of death throughout each of their lives. Frost’s greatest loss was the death of his son, which is greatly depicted in his poem “Home Burial.” Dickinson suffered the loss of many friends and family. She spent a lot of her time in her room looking out upon the headstones of these people.
The only strong comparison between the poets, in terms of structure and technique, is that the meaning of their poems run much deeper then the specific words on a page. Even this can come as a contrast when looking at these three poems. “Home Burial,” by Frost is a fairly straightforward poem, written in dialogue, with the writer working as the narrator. The poem is about a married couple dealing with the recent death of their son, who the husband had to bury in their own backyard. It is a considerably long poem, which doesn’t require one to read between the lines. Where as “I felt a Funeral in my Brain,” and “I died for Beauty,” by Dickinson are considerably short poems, in which she seals as much as she reveals.
Emily Dickinson’s poetry was not that of any traditional style. She was criticized for capitalizing words in the middle of sentences, using inexact rhymes and only giving a partial understanding. She loved to use ellipses, in order to let the reader finish a thought. Many of these were actually eliminated in many of her first publications, which were never published until after her death. In the two poems, “I felt a Funeral in my Brain,” and “I died for Beauty” all of these characteristics are present, including her usual four line stanzas in the meter of...