Category: Analysis

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Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas

The author of Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night is Dylan Thomas. The other poem Slipping is written by Aleshire Joan. The two literature works exhibit their opinions on death. Two authors show the distinct emotions, which are portrayed in their poems. Any reader is able to understand the themes in these poems after a critical analysis and a characterization of them. Comparing and contrasting these two works display some main similarities and differences in them.

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night is a poem which explores the defenselessness associated with aging and dying. The poem has six stanzas which have an easy rhyme structure (Thomas 13). However, this simplicity of rhyme holds a complex message and a theme in it. Generally, the poem is about dying and death. However, if examined more deeply, it discloses the life experiences at various stages. Dylan Thomas uses the poem structure, a good choice of words and language to invoke the definite images. The poet also uses various techniques provoking a deep imagery (Aleshire 7). A narrator seems to believe that this is not good or honorable for an interesting man to die at such old age with a quiet death. The hero tends to convince readers to understand that death should not be mutely accepted, though it should be desired. The poem can be divided into three parts. The first part is the introduction including the narrator’s message and conviction. The second part has four stanzas which have the detailed examples of what the narrator wants to tell. The last part has a single stanza, where the hero talks about his father in a personal tone. The poem is a strong convincement that one should live strongly and refuse to die quietly. It shows the process of aging or dying.

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas is narrated with an established voice initially talking from an objective point of view. In this poem, the narrator described the males that have fallen into the eternal sleep. The internal sleep symbolizes the death of these men. In the last stanza, the narrator discloses the cry to his father. This changes the speaker of the poem from the initial objective to the first person view. The hero then deviates from the external poem and looks directly at the poem. This makes him act as the main character. This leads the reader to believe that the narrator has been a main character from the beginning till the end. Additionally, the narrator makes the readers wonder whether he describes all men as in the deep internal sleep though referring to his father’s different stages of life.

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The voice of the narrator selects some words conveying a sense of inducing such emotions as burn, rave, forked, rage, fierce and blaze. These are the strong words, which paint the impression of fearlessness, courageous battles and burning flames. The strong tone that disregards the idea of death goes throughout the whole poem. Seems that somebody is fighting against death himself; there is the pressure of defeating the unavoidable thing felt.

The Concentration

At the same time, the concentration on the theme in Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night is also displayed by other selections of words supplemented in the poem (Thomas 13). The narrator chooses the words like "good" and "gentle" representing a softer picture of the campaign against time. This portrays the natural death as the tranquility to the life's endless storms. Additionally, the narrator uses "dying light", which appears almost healing. It seems that this is a person who has lastly taken a break after some hours of the strenuous work. The males described in the poem consider this dying light just a cause of deserving their act embraced in life. However, the narrator commands them to persist.

The format of the poem Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Nightis like a prayer. The author presents the work in a chant-like way with the stanzas number one, three, five and six repeating the line "rage, rage against the dying of the light". The poet wants to put an emphasis on the opposition of the death's actuality. The second, the fourth and the fifth stanzaa progressively sound like the appeal for the lost hope. This shows the battle tat cannot be won.

Slipping by Aleshire Joan

The poem Slipping by Aleshire Joan focuses on the same topic of death. Nevertheless, the narrator in this poem is the first person from the beginning to the end (Aleshire 7). The voice of narrator concentrates on the father's steady succession into an old age. In this poem, the speaker’s tone appears to be accepting the fundamental life changes in comparison with the narrator in the work Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night. Death is guaranteed to every human being. The poem Slipping has a concept of doctor who is getting old. The author displays the narrator’s emotions with the love towards the father. The narrator describes the symptoms of her aging father with love, indicating the affection towards him in comparison with the past. However, this crossness between the speaker and the father is contradicting at some points. There are some descriptions and a figurative language used to describe the Dad and to show a darker side of their relationship. The author uses various dark imageries, which describe the importance of living life without regretting. The hero in this poem is the doctor’s daughter. The narrator starts with the description of her father’s well being and health conditions. The word “slipping” is used in the first line to show that the father’s life is coming to an end very soon. The narrator states that her father’s feet used to hold him can no longer do that again. His life is being taken away like by a robber who takes money away from people. The doctor’s life is compared to a moving car with no sense of moving. However, the car is still moving away showing that his life is going away.

The speaker in Slipping uses the similes and metaphors, which convince the readers to sympathize with her father. The events mentioned in the poem, i.e. the shrewdness of the thief, raft floating in water and the snake slithering, illustrate the capricious methods the life may give to any person. Sometimes this happens with an aim of teaching the individual affected of different values and to provide with the experiences. For instance, the narrator describes her father driving a car, but being not able to control a steering wheel drifting. This is one metaphor of life. The individual can attempt to command a certain path that he decides to follow. However, the person is out of control on whether he will reach his destination the same way he has started a journey, or he will not achieve his final point. The three examples used in the poem show how the individual’s life can be taken away. The work also shows how human beings take other people and nature for granted.

The format of Slipping helps readers to get to the bottom of details of the narration as well as to achieve the speaker’s emotions. There is a brief disruption, which reveals the image of her mother exposing her point of view of the father’s personality, being introverted and distinct. The subsequent image shows the doctor acting in the way opposite of expected when he tells his daughter of his love to her. The narrator then understands that the father has said this as he knows of is days going to an end. Thus, such romantic words are out of his schedule. 

Suddenly, the narrator exposes another image proving the mother’s earlier comment. The speaker portrays him as a school teacher in the medical department keeping a pet snake and frequently wrapping the reptile around his neck. Interestingly, the narrator uses such words as the “pet snake” matching with the father’s characteristics. This is applied as oxymoron in the poem. Additionally, the stethoscope is personified like the snake. The pet snake glided around his neck. This snake’s grip displays in some way the relationship between the narrator and her father. It appears as evil in the speaker’s eyes. However, it is a symbol of his profession. The description shows that the father has been captivated by his field of profession. He always articulates with courage, passion and transparency. The narrator possibly envies this emotion as she has not seen so much sympathy towards them from him.

Lastly, the speaker points out how she has enjoyed a chance to see her father consciously or unconsciously. The narrator realizes a certain appreciation from Dad. This reminds readers of the saying, which states that this is better to know than never to know at all. It is possible that the narrator has become happy after the truth. She prefers to have the truth revealed even if it is bitter. However, this is much better than to stay in the dark side of truth. This has made the narrator understand bare outlooks the father has had on them throughout his life. The author finally states that the folds the father had on his neck could be seen. His skin appears to be mutable and soft. This symbolizes the metaphoric snake wrapped around his neck. The snake is imaginary. Under the resilient and tough skin of reptile, similarly to the inflexible and wiry stethoscope, there is a vulnerable and sensitive person hidden. This individual might have hidden his feelings, sentiments and passions.

The two poems Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night and Slipping arefocused on the effects of death in the lives of individuals that we remember. They braze out the qualms and fears either through their rebelliousness and defiance or forgiveness or acceptance. Other way, the individual can recognize both ways in the one’s point of life (Thomas 13). It is possible to relate to both directions. When the readers watch the characters’ internal rest, some doubts concerning the existence of a Supernatural being, heaven, love and justice appear. However, we realize that in some time these individuals may be still near because we keep remembering all memories and experiences of them. At the times, the readers feel that they cannot move on without these characters.


In conclusion, Thomas Dylan’s poem Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night and Aleshire Joan’s work Slipping have a similar thematic meaning on the life and death (Aleshire 1987). The two poets have the same theme while facing life with the courage and death with ease. They present the topic in different ways. Thomas Dylan uses a negative attitude where the aging man is sick and just about to die; while Joan is using a positive attitude to present the same things. These are the main similarities and differences in two works leading to the same. Thomas Dylan puts forward the motive while using diction, rhyme, tone and such figurative language as personification and simile. As for Joan, she uses the figurative language, tone, irony and symbol to put the theme across.

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