Conflicts of Fear and CuriosityThe poem by Mary Oliver, “When Death Comes,” seems to be about death but it might also simply be about the fears of not being able to complete one’s goal and transitioning into the new location.Throughout the poem, the speaker shifts tones from darkness to brightness and curiousness to fairness. There is also a pattern to the poem, first it started off with death itself, second she explains a certain way she thinks because of death, finally she states what she wants to accomplish “when death comes.
” The poem describes the speaker’s fear through metaphors. The first stanza of the poem describes the “hungry bear” who is ready to hibernate as death. Even though death is unexpected and causes rapid tension, the speaker described it as just a hungry bear which is expected and preventable. Death is also described as black color(imagine a funeral) but when the speaker said “when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse,” she is trying to give death a glimmering image. The author has a conflict perspective of whether death is a rest in peace or a fearful situation. The first stanza ends with a bright image where the second stanza starts with a dark theme. The audience can easily assume that since the coins are bright that means they’re gold, but to buy someone’s life make the image unpleasant. The speaker also witnesses the purse being shut which indicate the beginning of the darkness of death all over again.
The speaker tried to convince herself death as a positive and bright ending but she’s afraid of the fact that having to shut the eyes that see bright and colorful light knowing there’s no turning back. She also describes death as the measles- pox. Death buying the speaker with “bright coins” is less distress than the measles-pox. The speaker shows her understanding of the two ways of death, which are painful and painless death.The third stanza is short in words but the meaning verified the speaker’s intellectual and the understanding of the human nature of how people felt pain. There’s a heart “between the shoulder blades.” The iceberg is so huge and heavy that it can’t be compared to the human.
The speaker has a moment of a burden in her heart to the point that it can be compared to death. The speaker has a specific way of expressing her feelings even though she doesn’t use “I” and “my” which is why the poem can be applied widely. According to the speaker’s point of view toward death, the first few stanza was all about fear but starting the fourth stanza the readers can engage with the speaker real thought of death.She gives death a place/location which is the “cottage.” She gave death imaginable and manageable characteristic in the first few stanza. The speaker is curious to see what is like in the cottage. The speaker clearly alternate her thought between the fairness and the curiousness. Stepping “through the door” doesn’t sound so scary unless you are expecting something which means that the speaker uses this method to overcome her fear.
As the poem goes, the speaker gives us an idea of how death could possibly be not feared. The speaker mentioned “time as…an idea” which makes the thought of death different. The speaker also compares each human to individual flower which is unique. She thinks that humanity is simply a flower which blooms and the next they’re gone, which is that we are no more valuable than a person. The speaker shifts from death to life and to silence where she said,” as a flower… and.
.as all music does… toward silence.” She expresses her thought of living things in this world as precious.Toward the end of the poem the speaker states how she wants her life to be when she dies, she wants every day to be adventurous full of amazement. She wants to be the “bridegroom” which involve embracing and unity of the world. As she describes all the thing that she wants to do after describing life and death and giving them characteristics as if they were things.
She then goes back to completing the goals desire and not wanting to have a regret with the way she lived. She wants to be ready for death without fear and blaming oneself for her choices.