Jane Kenyon

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What's your analysis of "Notes From the Other Side"?

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Jane Kenyon, a Michigan native and University of Michigan alumna, reckons death as something somber but not tragic in her poem, "Notes from the Other Side." While death is popularly considered tragic, Kenyon's speaker refuses to consider it so. ("I divested myself of despair and fear when I came here"). Additionally, Kenyon's speaker adds that all things that are a bane to living are absent in death. ("There are no bad books, no plastic, no insurance premiums, and of course, no illness"). The imagined physical setting is suggested to be a funeral, as the speaker announces that, "No one howls as the first clod of earth hits the casket." The funeral is one of a death to which the living audience is reasonably resigned. The poem is also an exposition on the divine, and it is furthermore suggested that death is evidence of God, whom the speaker describes as "mercy clothed in light."

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