Christina Rossetti's vision of death and afterlife as expressed in her poem "Uphill".Please answer by using excerpts from the poem.

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coachingcorner's profile pic

coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In the poem "Uphill" by Christina Rosetti, the poet's vision of death seems to be well expressed by her representation of dying as being a road that will "wind uphill all the way." This last journey of all that we humans take will not be easy, she seems to say with anxiety. She fears the struggle, the tiredness, the battle against an opposing force - represented here by steepness or gradient. We all know that it requires more effort and energy to move uphill rather than down. She recieves a comforting reply, that yes, there will be rest and recuperation from the labours of it and that "they will not keep you waiting at that door." Company, friendship and a welcome from those who've gone on ahead of you represent her vision of the after life.

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kc4u | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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To add to the first answer, please pay attention to the dialogic form in which the poem is written. The question-maker is a man on the verge of death but does not realize. He thinks it to be yet another of his uphill journeys at the end of which there will be shelter, food, rest and company. The answering voice may be seen as an internalized voice of the other who understands the finality of this journey or we can also see this voice as the voice of death itself.

The answering voice always answers in a vague way so as to point toward a radical impossibility of knowing the event of death. It will happen but at what exact moment no one knows. Human beings can never anticipate it exactly. The language of death remains equivocal.

The final line of the poem which is also the final answer of the voice, refers to a faith of all being provided for in the shelter of death. One can read into this the Christian idea of death as a matter of faith and death as a true meeting between the human and the divine souls.

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