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Critical Essay Topic: Three Poems About Death

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Critical Essay Topic: "Do not go gentle into that good night," "Death, be not proud," and "Because I could not stop for Death"

Topic:
Discuss how different attitudes toward human mortality are dramatized in these three poems: "Do not go gentle into that good night" (by Dylan Thomas), "Death, be not proud" (by John Donne), and "Because I could not stop for Death" (by Emily Dickinson).

Focus on the imagery, arguments, and particular kinds of figurative language (metaphor, simile, personification, and so on) employed in each poem to evoke a particular mood and convey a particular attitude toward death.

Tips:
It's not necessary to agree or disagree with the philosophical and religious sentiments underlying any or all of these poems. Instead, attend to the vision dramatized in each work, and focus on the distinctive poetic ways that vision is transmitted. Deal with the poems one at a time, noting points of similarity and difference as you go along. And remember to use the literary present in your analysis.

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