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"Thanatopsis" is Romantic poetry because it focused on the supernatural, is concerned...

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udizzle5 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted December 12, 2009 at 2:04 AM via web

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"Thanatopsis" is Romantic poetry because it focused on the supernatural, is concerned with thoughts of dying, and arouses emotions. Explain.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 12, 2009 at 11:23 AM (Answer #1)

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I would say that it is a good example of Romanticism for all three of the reasons given above (and also some other reasons as well).  Romantics were very concerned with emotion as opposed to reason.  They were also interested in "the sublime" -- stuff that fill us with awe and fright and wonder all at the same time.  The supernatural and death do that.  So all of the things you mention are Romantic ideas.  And all are present in Thanatopsis, which is, after all, concerned explicitly with death (which arouses emotions and is connected to the supernatural).

I would also say that Thanatopsis fits with Romantic ideas of loving nature and feeling that humans are a part of nature.  Bryant tries to comfort us with the idea that death will just make us be part of nature.

So Thanatopsis is clearly a romantic poem for all of these reasons.

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