What is Dylan Thomas trying to say to readers in "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dylan Thomas is telling readers that resistance is a part of human identity. 

In order to communicate his message to the reader, Thomas uses repetition. Both "Do not go gentle into that good night" and "Rage, rage against the dying of the light" remind the reader that fighting back against the elements is a significant part of what it means to be human.  In the poem, Thomas depicts different types of people.  He shows people who are "wise," "good," "wild," and "grave." Their experiences vary, but he believes that they all understand that human identity is inescapably linked to struggle.

Thomas is telling the reader that there are forces of "darkness" around us. The only appropriate response to these forces is to "rage" against them.  The "dying light" can be seen as death, and our "rage" is to struggle against it in the form of living our lives.  However, the "dying light" could also be conformity or forces that seek to take away our individuality.  In these situations, Thomas is telling us to not capitulate, but rather "rage" against them.

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