D.H. Lawrence - Compare Attitude To Death In 'Call into Death' and 'Bavarian Gentians'
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Compare and contrast the speakers’ attitude(s) towards death in the DH Lawrence poems ‘Call into Death’ and ‘Bavarian Gentians’.
Broadly speaking, the character speaker of ‘Call into Death’ has a positive, wilful attitude towards death; he invites it so he can be reunited with his lost love and sees dying as an act of taking flight.
On the other hand, the speaker in ‘Bavarian Gentians’, who – based on the context of when this poem was written – is close to being Lawrence himself, fears death. In my opinion, he sees it as the great unknown and believes there is nothing and no-one waiting for him in the underworld of the after-life.
In terms of their titles, ‘Call into Death’ is a much more straight-forward poem in that its title reveals its subject matter immediately. As readers we know that the poem will broach the idea of ‘death’ before we read line 1.
‘Bavarian Gentians’, meanwhile, is more symbolic. These flowers come to represent death for the speaker because he sees it everywhere; even ‘blue’ flowers remind him of the blue haze of the underworld, of death.
In addition, the nature of these poems’ titles parallels the clarity with which their respective poems portray the theme of death. The speaker of ‘Call into Death’ is less resigned to hopelessness, and although he is ‘tired’ he’s determined to endure. He realises he must...