What are some metaphors found in the poem Meditation XVII?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Donne uses an extended metaphor of a book's chapter to represent an individual's life. Our whole life is presented by Donne as a story written down in a great book. However, our lives are not the whole story; as a Christian, Donne believes in life after death. When a man dies, says Donne, a chapter has not been torn out of the book of life so much as translated into a better language. Death, like the various misfortunes that afflict us throughout our lives, gives meaning to the relatively short spell we occupy on Earth.

Each life, each chapter, is part of one great volume, and God is the divine author of that book. Though we may look upon ourselves as individual scattered pages, we are all part of the same book. When we die—when we are "translated," as Donne puts it—we pass into the realm of the spirit, where each of our individual chapters will be gathered together by the Almighty in his divine library. There, all division will cease. The fundamental unity of humankind will be...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 623 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team