Updated September 10, 2022

Theme of Death and Dying in Literature

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Theme of Death and Dying in Literature essay
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Of all the most recurrently treated topics in literature, death and dying to provide plot device, symbol or theme as one of the necessary components in writing. Current dramatists, poets, authors, and novelists have used this theme to interrelate with origins and development of literature. Humanity’s consciousness of death has for many years offered the drive for reflection on the reasons, nature, and meaning of living. Although the treatments and causes of deaths are different as crafted by various authors, intellectuals have alleged in contemporary literature whether in prose, for the stage, or fiction, well-structured methods to this subject, which is of international interest.

Contemporary writers have in most cases presented death as the final existential quandary. One which provokes dreadful nervousness as it provides a platform toward genuine self-discovery. Equally, the theme of death and dying is professed within a huger background as part of natural happenings and even referred to as the normal cycle of renewal and decay.

In different instances, it is viewed as a source of joy, and most black comedy writers have utilized it as they hardly comprehend the weightiness of their topic. It is imperative also to understand that the theme of death and dying in literature comprise of a different range of figurative repercussions for many years as it has been allied with notions of escape, hideaway into egoism, estrangement, and nervousness and a possible withdrawal to self to escape the all-pervading forces connected to death and decay.

In the works of modernists, death and dying theme is linked with egocentric people in which internal and external factors collude figuratively removing them from real life. It is evident that the intense research was undertaken in modern literature, significantly provides writers with the opportunity to understand the theme of life and living. For authors such as William Giraldi and Michael Punke in their writing have utilized the subject of death and dying, which leads to a significant comprehension of personal identity and offers a constitutional significance in life.

In his novel, William Giraldi portrays the theme of death and dying in a significant way. The story is the contemplation of nature, violence, betrayal, and death where the author uses these examples to illustrate the unexplainable horrors of lives, which haunt the penetrating story of revenge. Additionally, William narrates of how, and one of them was a son of a lady known as Slone Medora. Medora decided to contact a wolf proficient identified as Core Russell (Giraldi, 25).

He arrived in town during winter to investigate these three killings. Within a short time, Russell discovered a nasty truth behind the murder of Slone’s son afterwards Slone went missing. Vernon Slone’s husband came back from a desert war and learnt concerning the missing of his wife and the death of his son. He went looking for his wife while Marium Donald, a police detective searched for Slone and her son through the hoary backdrop of violence and mystery.

The William novel highlights the constant view of death and life with palpable stakes. This is similar to the Revenant novel written by Punke. One of the exceptional and unforgettable scenes in the Revenant novel is a grand fight between a grizzly bear and DiCaprio. This bloody scuffle happens at the early stages in the book, which recognizes the plot of the story as an inciting incident. The bear dangerously harms Hugh Glass and left to die by the other fur traders.

Nonetheless, he survives in the wilderness even in the peak of winter. Glass had to overcome challenges such as subzero temperatures, ruthless men, dehydration, snowstorms, arrows and tomahawks even when he is flayed, disfigured, and pawed by the bear. Even better, the death match of the bear is paramount as it creates an existential contending of the story and hence giving it a whole meaning of humanity as exceptional from any other creature.

All through the novel, Glass lives alone in the wilderness, and he is made to appear like a bear. He covers himself using bear fur, grabs fish from the river, bites out of them, and crawls on the ground. Glass also consumes meat from buffalo carcass, and his significant instinct is to secure his young (Punke, 55). These two novels have a considerable similarity of how animals attack the main characters even to the point of death. For instance, Slone’s son is killed by a wolf while a dangerous bear attacks Glass and is left in the wilderness all by himself to die.

The two novels also reveal the significance of families such as relationships, which are evident — for instance, the relationship of Glass with his fur-traders, the broken relationship between Core and his daughter, and the death of the children. The two novels also significantly highlight a mature comprehension of humanity’s place in the world, emphasized by deeper spiritual native populace.

For this reason, the two stories go above survival and self, searching at people’s grasp of humanity and the menace of animalistic behaviors. Every scary scene revealed in the novels takes place from the seclusion and isolation of the characters from the society. The Slone’s as the leading characters in the Hold the Dark book and Glass in the Revenants are portrayed as living in the wilderness together with the animals, and it is tough to separate their actions from the bear and the wolves s.

From William’s novel we learn that Slone’s son was killed by his mother using the wolf-like survival dispositions, but at the end, both humans and animals are merciful of Russell Core since in nature both animals and humanity must learn how to correlate and live in peace (Giraldi, 67). The ending in the Hold in the Dark novel reveals Core reconnecting with his daughter after going back to sophistication as Vernon tramps deeper in the wilderness. However, he is brought back from the edge, and it is the dark that lies over the periphery.

On the contrary, the two novels differ on the theme of death and dying because Glass and his two friends survive and they even go ahead to kill the bear. The novel depicts ways in which the ancestors survived from injuries in the wilderness that were caused by dangerous animal’s way before civilization. It is apparent that the simulated capabilities humanity possesses for existence in the state of nature significantly amplifies the strains and rigidities in the society that threaten the firmness of social connections and relationships. Nonetheless, the highest risk that Glass encounters in the woods do not come from nature or the bear, but a contending trapper on the excursion identifies as Fitzgerald (Punke, 88). This forces Glass to almost assassinate Fitzgerald but recalls concerning the senior man he had met at the river.

That’s when he makes a choice to forgive himself for allowing his son to die and let God take care of his revenge and it is apparent he survives because he dealt with the vengeance he was suffering from. The desire of Glass to reunite with his family is partially accomplished and rather than fighting for survival he is infused with trust in a higher deity that pushes towards living. Glass clearly understands that he cannot manage nature, but through faith, he can overcome anything.

To sum up, death is sneaking in the two novels. For instance, in the Revenant, it could have happened from a bear while in the Hold the Dark it occurred from the wolf. For this reason, the protagonists revealed in the two novels consist of extremely mixed-up emotions concerning death. It does not matter if they are exhibited from compassion published or from close relations — the inevitable recognition of death gears the actions undertaken in the two novels.

I believe it was not the intention of the two authors to demonize their remote societies but to reveal the concealed animalistic features within humanity. It is the duty of every person to hold and deal with their dark pasts. Even better, we learn from the novel that revenge significantly promotes the theme of death and dying, Glass almost killed the contending trapper because of retaliation.

Theme of Death and Dying in Literature essay

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Theme of Death and Dying in Literature. (2020, Dec 13). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/theme-of-death-and-dying-in-literature/


How is death represented in literature?
Death is very useful to literature, as it creates plot twists, suspense, mysteries, and emotional effects in narrations . But more importantly, stories about death seem to have an existential importance to our lives. Stories provide fictional encounters with death and give meaning for both death and life.
Is death a theme in poetry?
The theme of death is one of the most discussed themes in pieces of poetry and prose . It can be associated with the theme of life or be presented with the help of its depiction through the analysis of the human values.
What are death themes?
Themes like betrayal, vengeance, greed, honor, justice, courage, and failure are almost always portrayed in conjunction with death.
What is the theme of death in literature?
Death is undoubtedly one of the most popular topics in literature. Themes such as love, survival, disease, immortality, and grief are almost always portrayed in conjunction with death and are closely related to it.
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