“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas and “After a Time” by Catherine Davis have many comparable features, which is likely due to the fact that Davis penned her poem as a response to Thomas’. From a reader’s perspective, these two poems appear more similar than different.
They have the same meter, which is iambic pentameter, and both poets use figurative language throughout their piece. In addition, both Davis and Thomas write about death in their poem; however, they have different attitudes towards it.
“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas is a villanelle that speaks to the speaker’s father figure. The speaker wants his father to fight against death and not go gently into that good night. The speaker uses many repeated lines such as “ Rage, rage against the dying of the light” and “Do not go gentle into that good night” in order to create a sense of urgency for his father figure.
In addition, the speaker uses hyperbole when he states, “And you, my father, there on that sad height, / Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.” Here, the speaker is asking his father to either curse him or bless him with his tears before he dies. The speaker is begging for his father’s approval before he departs from this world.
Catherine Davis’ “After a Time” is also a villanelle that speaks to the speaker’s father figure; however, the tone of this poem is much different from Thomas’ poem. In Davis’ poem, the speaker has already lost her father and she is struggling to cope with his death. The speaker uses lines such as, “ Yet after a time, I can think of you again” and “I can love you again, though not as before” to show how she is slowly moving on from her father’s death. While the speaker in Thomas’ poem is begging his father not to die, the speaker in Davis’ poem has already accepted her father’s death and is now trying to move forward.
Both Thomas and Davis use figurative language throughout their poems. In “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night,” Dylan Thomas uses metaphors when he states, “And you, my father, there on that sad height, / Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.” Here, the speaker is comparing his father’s tears to a curse and a blessing. In addition, Thomas uses personification when he writes, “And you, my father, there on that sad height, / Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.” By doing this, Thomas gives human characteristics to an inanimate object.
Catherine Davis also uses figurative language in “After a Time.” She begins her poem with a metaphor when she states, “Grief is a house where memory lives alone.” By saying this, Davis is comparing grief to a house. She is saying that grief is a place where memories go to live by themselves.
In addition, Davis uses similes when she writes, “I can love you again, though not as before / When light filled up the rooms of my life” and “My grief is like a river that will find / Its way again to the open sea.” By using similes, Davis is able to compare her grief to a river. She is saying that just like a river will eventually find its way to the ocean, her grief will eventually fade away.
“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” and “After a Time,” after careful study, I discovered that they share numerous elements of poetry in many areas. The subject, thinking process, and structure are all comparable. Both poems might be interpreted as though they were about death at first sight. This is where the difference lies.
“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” is about a son’s perspective of his father’s death, while “After a Time” is about the speaker’s personal experience with death.
The biggest similarity between the two poems is the theme of death. In “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”, the speaker is urging his father to fight against death and not give in. He says, “Do not go gentle into that good night / Old age should burn and rave at close of day; / Rage, rage against the dying of the light” (1-3).
The speaker wants his father to be aware of death and to rage against it. He does not want his father to go gently or peacefully into death. The speaker in “After a Time” also talks about death, but from a different perspective. The speaker in this poem has already come to terms with death and is accepting of it.
In Thomas’ poem, he instructs the reader to fight death as hard as possible and to see death as something we can overcome or try to avoid with all of our might and strength. He states that if we can “Rage, rage against the dying of the light (Thomas 3),” we have a chance of pushing ourselves away from death.
Then he goes on to say that death is the most awful thing that could happen to anybody, and if we can avoid it as much as possible, it will be for the best. She says in Davis’ poem “After a Time” that if you are confronted with death, you should accept it gracefully and allow it carry you off.
She states, “And I will go with death / After a time, (Davis 2-3).” She believes that once you die, there’s nothing left for you in this world and it’s time to move on to the next one. Thomas and Davis have different takes on what should be done when death is near.
In Thomas’ poem, he wishes for everyone to put up a fight against death and see it as something that could be avoided if we try hard enough. He wants people to “Rage, rage against the dying of the light (Thomas 3),” because he doesn’t want anyone to give up. He sees death as the worst thing that could happen and he wants people to try their hardest to stay alive.
In Davis’ poem, she has accepted death and is willing to go with it “After a time, (Davis 3).” She doesn’t see death as something that should be fought against, but rather something that should be welcomed. Thomas and Davis have different outlooks on death, but both are valid in their own ways.
Both Thomas and Davis write about death in their poems, but they have different views on the subject. Thomas sees death as something negative and wants people to resist it as much as possible. On the other hand, Davis sees death as a natural part of life and is willing to accept it when the time comes. Both poets have valid points of view on death, but in the end, it’s up to the individual to decide what they believe.