In "Elegy," Dylan Thomas uses the connection of his father being blind, to talk about his father's death. This poem is about Thomas's father's death, but explains how Thomas felt about his father. His father was blind, and Thomas felt that he had to see things for his father. The following quotes explain this: "...broken and blind he died/.../the darkest justice of death, blind and unblessed/.../Veined his poor hand I held, and I saw/Through his unseeing eyes.../.../Out of his eyes I saw the last light glide/.../and old blind man is with me where I go/Walking in the meadows of his son's eye." The first line of the quote states he's blind, and through the next few lines of the poem, it keeps hinting about darkness and how Thomas's father was blind. It then starts talking about how Thomas saw through his father's eyes. You see this in the quote "...I see/Through his unseeing eyes." This creates a connection between Dylan Thomas and his father. The last line of the quote shows that Thomas felt his father was living the life he had, but in lines before that, he felt that he was living his father's life. Dylan Thomas, though his father's eyes, creates a world which is feels he lives in, which is also how his father feels; seeing life through his sons' eyes.
Thomas also discusses his father's inevitable passing in his most famous work "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night." In this poem, Thomas expresses his anger toward the fact his father is now old and frail. In juxtaposition, it is important to remember how Thomas once saw his father as a strong military man. The use of "Do not go gentle into that good night. / Rage, rage against the dying of the light" repetitiously signifies to the reader, Thomas's need to implore to his father hang on to life and do not give into the satisfaction of death. In many ways, this embodies the change in their relationship, a change that happens to many children and their parents later in life. It is this familiar theme that pulls at the reader and promotes an emotional response. Thomas uses comparison to other men of his father's generation to evoke an anger out of his father as well with "Though wise men at their end know dark is right, / Because their words had forked no lightening they/Do not go gentle into that good night." This is really saying that Thomas understands time is short; it easy not to have energy to fight and that others have not given up. This duality between light and darkness, night and day adds a symbolism to the verses as they represent the differences between life and death for Thomas's father. Thomas believes life is worth fighting for because one's experiences with grief and happiness. He expresses this with "Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, / and learn, too late, they grieved it on its way." Life is a journey in other words. What is difficult for Thomas to understand and his verse is filled with sadness, is the fact there is nothing he can do to stop the cycle of life that ends in death. I believe he regrets not appreciating his father more and wants more time with him. This is why he repeats "Do not go gentle into that good night" to reiterate to his father not to give up and to make the most of the time that is left.
This paper focused on the works of E.E. Cummings and Dylan Thomas as they pertained to paternal influences. This paper explored how the paternal relationship specifically with their fathers influenced and inspired the writing of their poems. By comparing the two views of paternal and filial relationships, one can walk away with a better understanding of the writers' choices and have a better understanding of the poetry's inner meaning.
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