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Christina Rossetti and James Weldon Johnson on Death/dying

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Death is one common topic that has been used by various poets across the globe mainly because it is a topic that depicts various feelings and emotions among all humans. This is a universal topic as it affects all humans from all works of life and has been experiencing one way or the other by the demise of close friends and family. This makes this an easier and more diverse topic among the poets of various poems and sonnets. Christina Rossetti’s “After Death” and James Weldon Johnson’s “Mother Night” both depict the theme of death in the best ways the authors and poets understand the prevalent topic. In both poems the theme and emotions have been properly implemented by use of vivid description and imagery to enhance the reader’s imagination, this touch also adds on authenticity and helps draw the reader’s emotions in line with the theme and mood of the poem.

The implementation of imagery and visualization in both poems is what brings the clear difference between the two poems but at the same time brings a connection on the topic of death depicted from the two poems. In Christina’s poem, for example, we are treated to feelings of uncertainty and fear as seen in the line “and she turned away Came a deep silence” the use of “deep silence” by the poet has been used as an image to show the uncertainty that comes with death both on the individual and close people. In the same way in James Weldon Johnson’s “Mother Night” in the line “Welcome the darkness without fear or doubt” the word “darkness” has been used also in this poem to clearly portray the theme of fear and uncertainty. It is, therefore, clearer to the readers are able to feel the emotions of the poet on the matter at hand. The imagery in both poems is used to depict a visual image of emotional breakdown and tension of the affected individual in the poem. In both poems the use of the words deep silence and darkness respectively depict death. This visual description in both poems has been used to easily relay the theme of the uncertainty of issues and finally helps ease the burden of showing the theme of death as is the main topic in the Poem.

In both poems, the theme of sadness has been clearly and easily used without much struggle as observed in both poems. Imagery and the visualization of sadness are different for both poems, the difference come in the way both authors have used various imaging techniques with the basic objective of ensuring that the mood and visual representation is communicated in the simplest way possible. In Christina Rossetti’s poem “After Death” for example, the line “Poor child, poor child” has been used to bring out the somber mood in the setting. The man on the deathbed is in sorrow and pity of the persona. These words specifically have been used to put into play and to clearly show the mood of the persona as the person on the deathbed utters the finals words thinking that the persona could not hear him. On the other hand, the poem “Mother Night” by James Weldon Johnson, the expected mood has been portrayed in a different way. In the poem, the poet uses the line “And heavy-lidded” to depict the sadness of the situation the persona is going through. These words alone by the persona are able to carry the reader of the poem the world of agony that the persona is experiencing. The different ways put into play by the two poets in a way bring the difference between the two poems but at the same time brings out the common theme of sadness employed in both poems. The imagery used to depict sadness in both Christina and James’ poems, in addition, brings out the need to overcome sadness and sorrow in times of grief.

The theme of courage has been successfully employed and put into play by both poets. Courage is arguably an essential theme in situations such as the ones faced by the persons of both poems. The instances of courage in these two poems are different but the comparison brings the common factor of courage by the involved parties. The imagery of Courage in both of these poems clearly shows the distinction but at the same time as stated above brings the similarity of the poems. In James Weldon’s poem “Mother Night” for example, the words “Welcome darkness without fear” specifically the words “without fear” shows the attitude of the persona, that he is willing to face whatever might come their way these exact words have been used by the poet to bring forth the courageous personality of the persona. In Christina’s Rossetti’s poem the theme of courage has been put into play by the use of the words “He pitied me; and very sweet it is / to know he still is warm though I am cold” these phrase by the persona clearly depicts the courage by the person the persona is talking about.

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Christina Rossetti and James Weldon Johnson on Death/dying. (2018, October 02). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 4, 2022, from
“Christina Rossetti and James Weldon Johnson on Death/dying.” GradesFixer, 02 Oct. 2018,
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