PosterĄG Stan Yu at 12:25:32 3/3/98 from c550-22.svdcc.fju.edu.tw
Introduction to Literature
About "After Death"
The poem describes the indifferent and cool marital relationship between the husband and wife. Though a straight person suffering from the marriage; the speaker (the wife) is not less sensible than the readers are, which makes the poem even more persuasive. Only loyally and carefully talking about her husband's every movement, the wife has the readers believed it would be as casual as the weather.
During the last three lines of the third stanza, she bravely and directly indicates that her husband is so glad his body is warm or being alive, which still strongly shocks the readers who have had the ideas that she doesn't own a perfect marriage.
While reading the poem at the first sight, the readers have jumped into the environment the speaker makes up-the first stanza successfully convinces everyone that he/she is just the eyewitness in the funeral. By means of the surroundings, the speaker could make the readers feel the wife is one member of them who have no prejudice. The second stanza shows how on earth the husband says goodbye to his wife, which is imply before the third stanza. After finishing reading the second stanza, all of the readers accept the tragedy-the husband lost his wife; it is just the reason why the readers are scared when being faced with the third stanza. The third stanza is made up with the speaker's probe into her husband's mind. At the last time the husband sees his wife, he should try his level best to keep her face and figure on his mind, touching her body to make sure he loses her hereafter-he doesn't. The two words "warm" and "cold" apparently tell the difference between one is alive or dead. The author uses them to put emphasis on the broken relationship between the couple; the opposite of the two words makes the readers see how the love in the poem is cold.
The title of the poem, "After Death" plays an essential role. First of all, it catches readers' eye, arising their curiosity about the content of the poem-how could a person have the feelings after losing his/her life? In addition, the time it gives provides readers with the perspective to see the whole event-"After Death" suggest people should understand what they don't realize and admit what they deny in the "life." The first could be conflictive with second, however, such self-contradictory only has readers followed the speaker's thoughts.
Compared with "My Last Duchess," the poem "After Death" is also one running story itself-it contains theme, (possessive & indifferent) character, (Duke and servant & husband and wife) pilot, (showing off & funeral) setting, (studio, statue, etc & room, bed, and so on) and point of view of characters. But love in the two poems is thoroughly different: the duke is eager to declare his possession of his last wife; the speaker in the "After Death" is disappointed at the indifferent and estranged attitude of "he." The former shows how could a person want to own his/her love only; the latter reflects the far distance between people.
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