Death is a common theme in many poems. It is viewed so differently to everyone. In the poems, "Because I could not stop for Death," "First Death in Nova Scotia," and "War is kind" death is presented by each narrator as something different. To one it is a kind gentle stranger while to another it is a cold cruel being.
A kind gentleman stranger personifies death in, "Because I could not stop for Death." The narrator of the poem is a busy person, with little time, and definitely no time to die. Her carriage driver, which is death, arrives to take her into immortality. Death isn’t hasty, he doesn’t take her quickly. He drives her past things that the narrator had not taken the time to notice in a while. The narrator watched as he drives her past a school, where children are playing, and then on they go past fields. She sees the sun go down, and the carriage driver past the sun, but she realizes they weren’t passing the sun, it was passing them; time was passing by, past her life. Her life has now past her by, and she is arriving at her final destination, which was her grave, yet she describes it as her house. In the end she is looking back, and sees how centuries have passed, yet she isn’t passing by anymore, and to her this hundred years seems as no time at all. Finally she accepts her death, and is able to pass into eternity. To her death wasn’t harsh like some see it, but a kindly, gentle soul, taking her for a carriage ride to her final home.
A child experiences death much differently than an adult. Children aren’t quite able to see death as the sad even that it is. "First Death in Nova Scotia" tells of a young boys death, and his cousins view of it. We are shown Arthur’s death through the eyes of a child. The little girl, our narrator, describes the scene of her cousins funeral. Her focus however is not how we might think that she would perceive it. She describes to us pictures of the Royal family hanging in the room, and of a stuffed loon that her uncle had killed. To me it seems that she sees this event, her cousins death, as an esteemed event, one that the most pristine people are attending. She begins by telling us of the royals hanging in the room, and end talking of them again. In the last stanza, she mentions the gracious royal couples and how they have invited cousin Arthur to be the smallest page in their court. It is as though she is trying to make this event an honorable one, instead of one of mourning, and sadness as most see it. In the poem, the colors were mentioned frequently, and the little girl many times mentioned how white cousin Arthur was. She mentioned to white, frozen lake of the loon that was a marble topped table. The color of Arthur was also white, like a doll that hadn’t been painted. She played a lily in his hand, yet another personification of innocense by the color of the flower. This defining of the color is symbolic, or the youth and innocence of Arthur. It represents how he was but a child, and his death was not such a sad occasion, but the taking of innocence from one place, to a better one. Again in this poem death was not personified as evil, but as a gentle removal of the life and youth of an innocent young boy.
In the poem "War is Kind" the narrator uses sarcasm to display death. He begins in the first stanza, telling a young woman whose lover has been killed in war, how noble his death was. He tell her not to weep because he died in glory. Yet in the second stanza hedescibes the horror of the war, and how uncivilized it really is. He portrays the dying of the many people as in vein, rather than in glory, and honor. The narrator goes back and forth from glorifying the dying of the soldiers, to telling of its stupidity, and how truly unhonorable