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Thong Wei En 4O2

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Literature Home Based Learning …

Literature Home Based Learning

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas

Thong Wei En 4O2


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  • 1. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
    Thong Wei En
    4H2 (40225)
    Poetry Analysis
  • 2. Part 1 of E-learning
    In my opinion, sense is any feeling one gets due to the input received by the sensory organs of the human body.
    A) Rhyme – “brain and gain”, “pledge and ledge”. Rhyme uses same sounds at the end of two words to illustrate the apparent rhythm of such words .
    B) Rhythm – “to be or not to be, that is the question”, “now is the winter of our discontent”. Rhythm is the constant stressing and relaxing of various words in a sentence, such as iambic pentameter.
    C) Assonance – “From folk that sat on the terrace and drew out the even long, Sudden crowing of laughter, monotonous drone of song”. Assonance is the subtle repetition of various vowel sounds throughout words in a sentence.
    D) Consonance – “And frightful a nightfall folded rueful a day”. Consonance is the repetition of final consonant sounds of words
    E) Onomatopoeia – “30 seconds 'til the game is over. Tick tock. Tick tock. Oh no! Slap! Bang! There goes the puck! Clink! Clank! Clink! Clank!” Onomatopoeia are words that sound like the sounds that various objects make.
  • 3. Context of Poem
    Poet: Dylan Thomas
    Motive: An exhortation, fierce plea, to his dying father to resist death.
    Poetic Form: Villanelle
    Context of Villanelle
    Dance form with sung lyrics
    Specifically 19 lines long with 3 line stanzas
    Only 2 rhyme sounds
  • 4. Preview
    I will first attempt to answer question 1 by bringing in answers for question 2 and question 5, so as to enhance my main point regarding the overall tone of the poem.
  • 5. Question 1,2 and 5
    The poet’s overall tone is fierce, yet pleading at the same time
    To his dying father, the poet does not offer consolation or sympathy, but instead is willing his dying father to resist death.
    The poet is fierce not because of anger, but because he does not wish to see his father pass into the void and thus forcefully reiterates his plea for his father to resist death.
    Repetitive plea for his father to “not go gentle into that good night” and “rage against the dying of the light” best shows that the poet is undergoing a huge internal struggle.
    This internal struggle is enhanced better by using this line to alternatively close various stanzas instead of repeating them throughout every stanza.
    This prevents the poet from adopting an overly harsh or commanding tone, as well as punctuating each piece of advice and anecdote he gives to his father throughout the poem with his point, thus bringing out the effect of a desperate plea.
  • 6. Question 1, 2 and 5
    After the poet successfully drives home his point to his father by aptly repeating it alternatively at the closing of the stanzas, his anecdotes of various types of men – be they wise, good, wild or grave build up on his point that anybody can resist the void of death if they have courage.
    With each description of how the various types of men build up their courage to face death, the poet is now elaborating on his main point by giving instructions to his father to resist death, giving the fierce tone to his point and preventing it from sounding like a helpless plea.
  • 7. Question 1, 2 and 5
    Here is the poet’s message to his father to resist death, as explained through how these types of men resist it
    Wise Men – The wise men know that death is inevitable, but because their “words had forked no lightning”, referring to the fact that their words of wisdom have not been heard, they know that they will never give up and will resist even at death’s door, ensuring that they win death by passing their wisdom to the next generation.
    Good Men – The good men know that their good deeds might have been realized, no matter how frail they are, and so “even as the last wave crashes by”, signaling the inconsequential deeds going unseen, they will not give up.
    Wild Men – The wild men whose “antics seemed to shine in the sun’, referring to how they clearly were the masters of their own actions and in control of their lives, rage against anybody, even death, trying to seize that control and subjugate them.
    Grave Men – This is a direct plea to his father, as his father could be considered as one of them. The grave men are able to have the clarity of “blinding sight” despite the apparent paradox as by not seeing the material trappings they are about to leave behind, they see the true nature of their lives and understand that death is not to be feared.
  • 8. Question 1, 2, 3 and 5
    Ultimately, by cleverly balancing logic with passion, fervour with reason, as well as by hammering his point at the correct closing alternative for each stanza, the poet’s plea is able to be very persuasive, and it is only through this that the poet can adopt a fierce yet pleading tone, for he knows that ultimately, his father must make the decision for himself.
    Finally by repeating the 2 refrains together in the last stanza, the poet is able to nicely conclude his persuasive and fierce plea to his father by brining in the parallels of the darkness of night and the light of day.
    This is able to truly conclude the poem, and serves to deal the final impact of his words by making them stand out; if the poet had repeated the two refrains when concluding every stanza, the effect at the final stanza would have been lost, and his entire plea to his father would have been made useless at the ending.
  • 9. Question 4
    The sentence “Old age should rage and burn at the close of day” shows onomatopoeia through the words “rage and burn” – rage as in to show emotion and prove that you are in control of your life even at death’s door and not quietly be cowed by death, burn as in to provide the light of courage yourself even when death brings its everlasting night.
  • 10. Question 6
    At the last stanza, when the poet suddenly has a change of tone by lamenting that his father is “there on the sad height”, allows him to express his sadness that his father is nearing death and makes his persuasive speech much more intimate – not that of a leader addressing his soldiers, but as a son who deeply loves his father and who does not want his father to part with him.
    At this point, the poet directly addresses his father, bringing the focus of his speech to him, thus also giving a sense of finality by bringing in the subject who the poet wishes to address – his father.
    This removes any trace of pomp and command and neatly balances out the strong tone and words the poet uses previously, making his speech not just persuasive, but also serve as a humble and sincere plea at the same time.
  • 11. Question 6
    When the poet finally implores his father to “curse, bless me now with your fierce tears,” the poet is finally pleading his father to fulfill his last wish – to show that he has not let death taken over his being, his soul, and that his father is able to support the bond between father and son for the last time before he passes into the void of death.
    The poet implores his father to cry as crying is the best way to release all form of fear and anguish, which the poet knows his father must be feeling right now, rather than smile, as smiling in this situation would only seem like putting up a brave front and would not do much to relieve the suffering as tears would.
    Finally, the paradox of using tears to “curse and bless” the poet shows that the poet wishes his father to not forget who he is; that a part of him would always live on in the poet.
    Curse in this context shows the poet’s knowledge that the death of his father would undoubtedly be a deep blow to him, and yet there is still some form of blessing derived from this as this final show of tears would alleviate the fear in the poet that his father had possibly become an empty shell as he nears death.
  • 12. Question 7
    In my opinion, Dylan Thomas is trying so hard to get his father to resist death because of his love to his father – he does not want to see his father become an empty shell and give up just because death is nearing.
    In a way, I would say that it was very admirable for the poet to take on his course of action; it would be easy to offer consolation and sympathy, but the poet knows he has to let his father see that his death would not mean the end of his memory, and as a son, the poet wishes to convey to his father that his father would always have a place in his heart, even if it meant sounding quite harsh while delivering his exhortation.
    Ultimately, I would say that the poet also does this because his fears that when his father leaves him, he would be reduced to a emotional vacuum and wreck as a result. Therefore, the best way to strengthen his resolve was to get his father to put up a courageous, strong fight in the face of death, so as to give him support when he himself faces death in the future.
  • 13. Part 4 of E-learning
    Personally, I feel that visual poetic devices are good at allowing one to establish a particular scene or situation that the poet is trying to depict, and this is extremely helpful in allowing the reader to interpret mood and atmosphere of the poem more effectively than aural poetic devices.
    Seeing a scene of total destruction leaves more impact that sounds of anguish because pictures are seared in one’s mind faster and more effectively than hearing sounds related to the same topic, allowing the reader to quickly grasp a big picture. Therefore, for poems that rely heavily on conveying mood and atmosphere, I would prefer to use visual imagery.
    However, aural poetic devices can offer more creativity and imagination compared to visual poetic devices in my opinion. Usually, when one sees a scene, one can quickly but only draw a few conclusions regarding the scene’s context. If the poet plans to shock the reader or jolt the reader, the poet must bring in more visual imagery to tell he poem.
    However, with aural poetic devices, it forces the reader to really focus on the specifics of the sound, and yet allows the reader to have a greater imagination for the context which the sound is based on.
  • 14. Part 4 of E-learning
    Then again, poets can also use dissonance by purposely combining sounds and imagery that do not complement each other to create squick and instill conflicting emotions in readers.
    For example, imagine a beautiful garden with sunny weather and a light atmosphere, where a couple appear to be holding hands whilst standing on a sturdy tree. They whisper loving words or encouragement to each other, as a light breeze blows cheekily, causing the autumn leaves to swirl by and dying the ground red. The couple are ready. They close their eyes, as if preparing to go together to another plane of existence. They jump together, their bodies floating in space, oblivious to the sense of time. As they fall, CREAK. They abruptly stop in mid air, held in place by the thick rope coiled around their necks. They are entwined around each other, as the rope creaks dully and the breeze blows on.