Write a detailed summary of "And Death Shall Have No Dominion" by Dylan Thomas.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This poem is all about resurrection and what happens to us when we die. The key refrain is taken from Romans 6:9 of the Bible: "Death hath no more dominion." The poem, through a number of different images, argues that the life force that makes us live, move and breathe is not something that can die and is immortal. Whilst our bodies may die, our spirits endure and live on.

The first stanza therefore argues that those who die "shall be one" with nature as their bodies fade away but the essence that remains takes its place in the vibrant ecosystem of the natural world. Again and again, Thomas argues that what endures is not people but the spiritual force that is within us. For example, Thomas argues that "Though lovers be lost love shall not." Interestingly, although there is much of the lexis and solemn tone that reminds us of Christianity and passages of the Bible, the poem contains no reference to God or salvation or Judgment Day. Death and what happens to us is shown to be a supremely natural event.

The second stanza focuses on the pain that we experience in life and through dying. It does not matter how we die, or whether our faith does "snap in two" because of the pressure and pain. We will not experience a final death and it is nature that holds our destiny. Lastly, the final stanza gives us a series of images of how our spirit will enter the natural world. Our life force is so much a part of nature that we may find our life force entering objects such as a daisy or the sun, but it will definitely not end. The final line of the poem repeats the refrain and the central argument of Thomas: "And Death Shall Have No Dominion."

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