Comparing And Contrasting Essay On Death

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Compare And Contrast Essay On “Godfather Death” And “Because I Could Not Stop For Death” - With A Free Essay Review

Everyone views and deals with death differently. Some are scared, some except it, sometimes they try to cheat it, and others confront death looking it square in the eyes. In the two stories I am comparing; the characters die with one trying to cheat death and the other embracing it looking into deaths eyes and accepting Death has come to take him onto immortality.

I believe “Godfather Death” by the Grimm brothers is a story that tries to make sense out of why people have to pass away. Death is unavoidable to every being. The godson in this story wanted to cheat death; he was not ready to give up his life. He tried to get Death himself to give him more life but as the man found out that is not possible. The story explains in a strange way that when your life candle is to burn out and you are to pass away there is no way to avoid it. Death takes his godson to the underworld to show him why he must take life when the time has come. The godson begs him not to take his life and explains he only cheated Death because he wanted to marry the beautiful princess and become the King. “That I cannot do,” Death replies. “One candle must first go out before a new one is lighted.” (Grimm) [Pocket Keys page 80 section #8 and #10] He explains that his short candle may be put on top of a long candle so his life does not expire. Death tricks the man and says he will do this, but he stumbles and the candle goes out leaving the man lifeless.

In the poem “Because I could not stop for Death” the character accepts that his time has come to pass away. The man that Death comes for does not try to escape, or cheat Death he embraces it. This seems to be a more peaceful way of dying. Instead of fighting your way out when there is no escape, if a person accepts his last day has come they may go in peace. The character says “Because I could not stop for Death… He kindly stopped for me.” (Dickinson) [Pocket Keys page 80 section #8]He does not look at Death as a bad entity but as something that is unavoidable, and something he must accept. The man views his passing on as a step into immortal after life not the complete end of himself.

In “Godfather Death” the man tries his best to stay alive; the lesson learned is not even Death's godson can cheat Death. “Because I could not stop for Death” has a character that gets on the Carriage of Death with no hesitation. Although the character did not want to stop and wait for death he accepted his fate looking Death in the eyes when it called him.

Work Cited

Grimm, Jakob and Wilhelm. “Godfather Death.” Trans. Dana Gioia 11-13. Ed. X.J. Kennedy, and Dana Gioia. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. New York: Longman, 2010, 2007 and 2005.Print.

Dickinson, Emily. “Because I could not stop for Death.” Gioia 963. (Grimm)



Your title calls this a compare and contrast essay, but there is very little compare and contrast in it. There's also very little specifically about the texts. I think you need to aim for a more complex discussion of the representation of death in these works, with correspondingly more complex thesis (in which you ought to identify the names of the texts whereof you speak). The second paragraph makes a claim about the inevitability of death in "Godfather Death", and then summarizes the end of the story without making any further argument (which is a weak way to end a paragraph). This paragraph does nothing to compare "Godfather Death" with "Because I Could Not Stop for Death." The third paragraph makes one claim about Emily Dickinson's poem, but it is based solely on the first few lines of the poem. You completely ignore the rest of the poem. There is a little bit of comparison in this paragraph, but not much; note that you don't mention "Godfather Death" specifically once in this paragraph, so the comparison you are making is largely implicit. The part of the essay that does compare the two works explicitly is the final paragraph, but the final paragraph is short and really just repeats the thesis.

So, what can you do? What both works have in common, as you note, is that they both deal with the theme of death. They also both use the same literary device (personification) to write about death. I think you should start there. What is the purpose of personification in each text. What does it tell us about death. In one case, obviously, Death is a godfather. In the poem, however, Death seems more like a lover, a suitor. He arrives like someone coming to take the narrator out on a date (with Immortality as a third wheel). Think about those representations of death. What do they have in common? In what ways are they different? What difference do the differences make? Is Death kind or misleading in Dickinson's poem? What does the narrator’s journey or her experience of an afterlife imply about the value of death (or the character of Death) in the poem? What you need to do, in other words, I suggest, is argue for a specific interpretation of the nature of death (as personified character or as a phenomenon of existence) in the poem and compare the results of that interpretation with an equally well-argued interpretation of "Godfather Death."

Best, EJ.

Submitted by: ashcole0510

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Compare and Contrast: The Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman

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Four motifs run through both F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. All of these are related to one encompassing theme common to both works – the pursuit of the American Dream.

To own a house and a car, to be successful in life, and above all to become financially wealthy and independent – that was the heart of the dream. All of these rewards will come to those willing to work and sacrifice enough for it.

Jay Gatsby’s and Willy Loman’s respective pursuits of the American dream, however, belie this ideal. Jay Gatsby seemed to have it all: a Gothic mansion, Rolls-Royce, extravagant parties every weekend, and a seemingly infinite number of friends.

However, the way Jay attained this goal was by becoming a bootlegger (Fitzgerald, 67) and a totally different person: “…he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end (Fitzgerald, 105).”

Willy, on the other hand, was always in debt. Despite the massive obstacles that kept blocking him from attaining the American dream, he still stuck to his guns.

His idea of the American dream, however, is already a diminutive version of the real thing. When he relates his dream of opening a bigger store than Charley, he sincerely believes that he will definitely succeed “because Charley is not-liked. He’s liked, but he’s not-well liked (Miller, 1069).” Eventually, Willy’s notion backfires on him, leaving him desolate for not achieving the dream he was so fixed upon.

With the failure of both these characters to actually achieve the real American dream of happiness from security, their lives are eventually wasted. In the end, both Jay and Willy qualify as tragic characters, implying that despite not being “mean and evil” men, there is a flaw in their characters that led them to doom.

For Jay, the flaw is in his utter idealism. Daisy becomes the paragon of everything that he hopes to be – rich, powerful, and beautiful. His dreams proved to be too big for him and the foundation upon which he builds it is weak. On the other hand, Willy’s flaw is his inability to accept his family and their unconditional love for him.

He believes that as he cannot attain the dream, he is not worthy of their love and acceptance. Despite overwhelming evidence showing him their love, Willy refuses to accept it, pushing him into depression.

Another idea common to both is infidelity. Luring Daisy shows the dark side of Gatsby – he had no moral scruples when it came to chasing his goals. Lacking conscience, Gatsby paves the way for his downfall by initiating an affair with Daisy. In the end, the idealization he has vested upon Daisy turns on him: Daisy was not the glamorized girl he had in his imagination.

For Willy, the affair with The Woman boosted his frail ego. This was especially important for Willy, who sincerely believed that being likeable and attractive would lead to his success as a salesman. However, Biff catches Willy with his father, which eventually destroys all chances he has in going to college. Because of his infidelity, Willy not only destroys his son’s future but also exhibits the grave consequences the American Dream has on its chasers.

As with all tragic characters, dying becomes a resolution in their downfalls. For both Gatsby and Loman, death comes is the inevitable result of chasing the distorted American dream. Gatsby meets his fate in the hands of George Wilson, who is misled by Tom Buchanan into thinking that Gatsby killed his wife Myrtle.

Gatsby’s death eerily echoes his prodigal nature – his dead body was found in the pool he has never once used throughout the summer (Fitzgerald, 168). For Willy Loman, suicide out of despair cut short his life. His suicide was prompted by his tenacious and illusory view on the American – “Can you imagine that magnificence with twenty thousand dollars in his pocket (Miller, 1098)?” – referring to the payout from the insurance company upon his death. To his death, Willy still believes that wealth will change Biff and urge him to pursue the American Dream that was denied him.

Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. London: Penguin Popular Classics, 1994.

Miller, Arthur. “Death of a Salesman.” A Treasury of the Theatre. Ed. John Gassner. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1967. 1063-1099.

Compare and Contrast: The Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman

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