Explain the main contrast in the poem "A Contemplation Upon Flowers."

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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In the poem "A Contemplation Upon Flowers," the main contrast is the way flowers view death versus the way the poet views death.

The flowers have no fear of death. In fact, they are ever present in death. They decorate the bier at death looking "fresh and spruce."

The poet asks the flowers to teach him to view death differently. The poet fears death but in contrast the flowers have no fear of death.

The flowers are fragrant even in death. The poet desires to have sweet breath in death much like the flowers. The poet desires to breathe sweet fragrances as he dies.

The flowers seem to understand their purpose more so than the poet. The flowers bloom with no vanity. Then they die and go back to the earth from which they are born. There is no fighting death. The flowers obey and wither in dignity.

The poet sees the contrast in the way he accepts death versus the way the flowers so "gallantly" die and go back to the earth.


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