What is the point of Anne Sexton's poem "Courage"?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Change is inevitable. Anything you face in life, no matter how big or small, painful, embarrassing, tragic, and things which instill fear will have to be dealt with. The point is that children and adults deal with these things; they just do; not with an automatic courage, but a kind of innate will power to accept change and move on. There is the idea of "whatever doesn't kill you will make you stronger." But maybe the bigger idea, and slightly less courageous (more melancholy), is that, in isolation, fear is overwhelming; and we can only rely on "a small coal" or some "warm slippers" to face those fears. In another ironic twist, these small reserves of courage seem to be enough to face anything.

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