Nature And Death In Literature Essay, Research Paper
Nature and Death
Literature delivers or expresses ideas according to the social and cultural settings of the particular time of the writers. Even though, it is designed to be in a certain time frame, the concepts overlap each other. The poems “In memory of my dear grandchild” by Anne Bradstreet, “Upon wedlock and death of children” by Edward Taylor though were written in different eras, they have a common concept “death”. The writers in their poems describe that death is a natural process and compare it with different aspects of nature.
Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) and Edward Taylor (1642-1729) are both early American litterateurs, and are firm believers in the Puritan experiment in America. Anne Bradstreet was the daughter of Thomas Dudley, and got married to Simon Bradstreet when she was sixteen years old. She received a better education than other young women did of her times. Due to her childhood diseases and deadly, childbirth experiences, she became very weak. She had to lead a life full of hardships in the new land. Although her distress is not hidden, faith in God is also the prominent object in her works. Edward Taylor was a son of a yeoman farmer, went to Harvard for higher education, and became a teacher for a while. He was not involved with the church and instead became a puritan minister. He wrote poems for his own pleasure and not as a part of religious service. He too believed in the puritan experiment in America. The poems chosen of these two writers are about death immediate family members.
Although, both the writers have different intentions, they associate death with some aspects of nature. There is a common mechanics used in all of Anne Bradstreet’s poems. She uses iambic pentameter, the most popular line length in English. In the poem “In the memory of my dear grandchild…” she speaks in first person and handles the mechanics very well rhyming at every alternate line. The poem comprises of two verses of seven lines each. In the first verse, she expresses the distress of loosing her grand child Elizabeth. She is sorrowful, and bids farewell to her very young grand daughter. Then she says to herself that it is wrong of her to cry as her Elizabeth is in a better place that is everlasting “Or sigh thy days so soon were terminate, sith thou art settled in an everlasting state”. She consoles herself in the next stanza by giving examples that everything in nature has to die one day. She exemplifies by trees, apples, grass, plants, and buds. The last line of her poem, “Is by His hand alone that guides nature and fate” accentuates her believe in God. She gives in to God’s power to make everything happen and bows down to it.
Similarly Edward Taylor in his poem, “Upon wedlock, and death of Children” expresses his gratitude to God on his children birth and does not complain on their death. Whether thou get’st them green, or lets them seed” meaning that its up to the Lord to decide about a person’s fate. He uses iambic pentameter as the mechanics and his thought flow in an orderly fashion, rhyming at every alternate lines. His poem consists of seven stanzas each of six lines. He is actually telling about his family tree in this poem. He symbolizes his children as flowers and describes when that flower bloomed or withered off. He first expresses about how wonderful the relationship between a married man and his wife is. Then he goes on with his children’s births and deaths. He symbolizes his children and their children as different parts of nature such as, singing birds and different flowers and their odor. However, in the entire poem he never complaints to God regarding his loses. In fact he praises the Lord and thanks Him when one of his children survives. This represents his true faith in God. By reading his poem, one can easily make out about his family, that how many children and grandchildren he had.
Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor had one thing in common that they were both puritans, and their works represent puritan philosophies, and most of all they had the common Faith in God. They both take death as a natural process of life and do not protest to God regarding the loss of their beloved. Instead they solaced themselves by saying that it was God’s and so he took it away. There is a constant comparison between nature and death in the works of these writers. One belief that is prominent is that everything in nature ends (including humans); it is just the difference in time frame. Meaning that some die early and some livelong than the others.
Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor are from different periods of the history of American literature, but they have the same belief system. They both have faith in God that He is the one to decide about everything’s destiny. They support their belief by exemplifying it with the way the world is organized that is anything that is born has to end.