Stephen Crane

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Write a critical appreciation of the poem "Blades of Grass" by Stephen Crane.

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"Blades of Grass," also known as "In Heaven," is a rather simple poem. It is written like a fable, and accordingly has a simple but resonant moral message at the end. The poem takes place on Judgement Day, which, according to Abrahamic religions, is the day when God will judge each individual, according to how moral or religious he or she has been in the course of his or her life. This is quite a serious and macabre setting for what appears to be a poem for children.

In the poem, the "little blades of grass" represent humans. They are all "Stood before God," who asks them to describe what they have done with their lives. The final blade of grass to speak declares that it does not know of any good deeds it has done, and God, rising from "His throne," replies that this is the "best little blade of grass" of them all. The implication is that this blade of grass is the "best" because it is the most humble. The New Testament in the Bible celebrates and emphasizes the importance of humility. Indeed, in the Book of Matthew, Jesus declares, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."

The language of the poem is simple and direct, in keeping with its simple and direct moral message. The poet does not use abstract or figurative language, and in this way the poem reads as if written for children. There is also no rhyme scheme in the poem, which again emphasizes its simplicity. The absence of a rhyme scheme, and the absence also of any syllabic meter, suggests a simple, direct conversational tone. This simplicity suggests that this is a didactic poem, intended to impart, clearly and unpretentiously, a simple but important moral message to the reader.

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