How would you compare/contrast Because I could not stop for death by emily dickinson with Do not go gentle into that good night by dylan thomas?

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elizzybec | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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The two works can be compared or are similar based on their topic: death and its inevitability.   Although the two poems take an almost polar opposite approach to death, the second poem also aknowledges death, although the speaker of Dylan's poem is openly pleading with the reader to resist, or at least not make it easy for "death" as it is personified, it also admits that Death is coming, and inevitable.

The first poem, Dickenson's "Because ..." is formulated from a passive and voluntary helpless point of view, as though Death is something that happens to us, not something we can challenge or decide upon.  The tone toward the subject is vastly different as well, the speaker in the first poem uses words such as "kindly" and "civility", indicating that there is a passive politeness, or perfunctory process involving death, but does not address whether or not the sould should or should not resist, as in poem 2.  This is due to the fact that it is established in the first few lines of the poem that whether or not to resist death is moot, Death is personified as deciding to claim you when and where Death decides.  The second poem also paralyzes the speaker into a sort of suspended sense of reality:

"We passed the setting sun. Or rather, he passed us;"

adding more to the "helpless" aspect of dying.

Taken as a whole the sole similarities of the two poems are the subject matter.   Beyond that they diverge in separate directions and are told from different points of view, the first in a sort of indirect dealing with death, by telling the reader to "fight" death, and the second as sort of narration of the speaker's not so unpleasant experience through the journey that is death.

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