Comparison of 'Remember' by Christina Rossetti and Do not go gentle into that good night’

Comparison of 'Remember' by Christina Rossetti and Do not go gentle into that good night’

Similarities

  • In ‘Remember’, Christina Rossetti is offering advice and comfort to the person who will be left behind by her dying. Death is also the theme of the poem ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’, although the poem is presented from the perspective of the person who will be left behind.
  • In the second poem ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’, the poet is the person who is being left behind by someone who is dying. Dylan Thomas expresses his strong feelings of anger and sorrow through this poem. This poem also opens with an imperative “Do not go gentle into that good night”. This orders the person who is dying not to die without a fight, which expresses that Thomas does not want him to die and feels very furious about it. The poem is structured into 6 stanzas, and each stanza repeats an aba rhyme structure, apart from the final one, which is abaa. It has an iambic pentameter rhythm. The repetitive rhythm and rhyme patterns emphasise that the poet is pleading against the person dying. The poem does not directly talk about the death of the person. Thomas uses metaphors to describe death, such as “the dying of the light” and “that good night”. However, this does not soften the intense and strong emotions because he also uses words such as “rage” and “rave” to show how deeply he feels that the person should resist against dying but also how he feels about the fact of death. In the final stanza, we learn that the person dying is the poet’s father “and you, my father, there on the sad height” and this reveals why he feels so strongly about him fighting against death. Thomas shows through his use of language how he admires his father by introducing different qualities of his life in each stanza for example “wise men” “good men” “wild men.”

Differences

  • ‘Remember’ has a reassuring and comforting tone, even though the subject is an emotional experience. Rossetti does not use the words death or dying, which helps to make the poem more subtle. She uses euphamsims such as “into the silent land” to describe what is happening but she is also quite firm about this being final, which is presented through the repetition of the words “gone away” in lines 1 and 2. This repetition represents that her dying is inevitable.
  • ‘Remember’ is structured in 2 parts, which represent the change in tone which occurs within the poem. The rhyme scheme begins with abbaabba. This changes to cddecd for the final 6 lines, symbolising the change in the focus of the poem from begging someone to remember her to saying that it would be alright if they did forget. This change is also shown in the language of the poem. It opens with an imperative “Remember me when I am gone away”. This gives a commanding tone to the poem and the order is repeated in line 5 giving more strength to the poet’s feelings. However, in the final part of the poem Rosstti changes this order to state “Better by far you should forget and smile”. This is less forceful than the early imperative so it represents that her opinion changing about how the other person should react to her death.

Overall comparison

Both poems present their reflections on the emotional experience of dying and death. ‘Remember’ presents this from the perspective of the son of someone who is dying. They both have very strong and powerful feelings about these emotional experiences. 

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