Type of paper:
Literature, Women, Poetry, Death, Vincent Van Gogh, Poem, Night, Afterlife
The poem “The Starry Night” by Anne Sexton present a complex representation of death. Her personification of the trees within this dark landscape are meant to conjure images of death and aloneness. By taking a look at “The Starry Night” the reader can gain a better understanding of the emotion invested in the concepts of death.
This theme is set within the first line of the poem which states, “The town does not exist/ except where one black-haired tree slips/ up like a drowned woman into the hot sky” (lines 1-3). This line describes the tree by comparing it to a woman who has drowned. One can almost imagine that the branches as the hair of the woman as she floats in the water. The isolation in this line also suggest that death is equated to loneliness.
The tree in the poem is also describes as a way of connecting the earth to the sky. Perhaps Sexton’s way of analyzing the spiritual association. In essence, the path one must take from Earth to the sky/heaven/afterlife.
Sexton describes the stars vibrantly as if they are alive. This most likely represents hope and comfort to the lonely tree. Sexton, once again uses personification to suggest the stars have life while the tree does not indicating a possible earthly death, everlasting afterlife concept.
Overall, the poem “The Starry Night” endeavors to explore all the emotions associated with death by using nature at a catalyst. Sexton describes death as dark, lonely, earthly, while describing the afterlife as bright, vibrant, hopeful, and skyward. This poem uses personification and metaphor to create an emotional environment for the reader.
Sexton, Anne. The Complete Poems. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1981.
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