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Thanatopsis. Nature Can Do Better

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“Thanatopsis” was the first poem we started reading in our second book and it’s written by William Cullen Bryant. I immediately remembered that in class we discussed that the title refers to death. In fact, on my notes I wrote that “thana” meant death and “topsis” meant view. The title might make it sound like the poem will be depressing or something but it’s really not. I truly believe this poem is trying to say that nature can make everything better. For instance, I also think it said that when you are thinking of death, go enjoy nature outside. From my experience I do believe that nature can make someone feel better. Even though I don’t think about death, whenever I am having a bad day I go sit or walk outside and it makes me feel so much better. Also, from what I believe I understood from the story is that you should never fear death because it will happen to everyone. Most of the time people fear death because they believe it’s scary since you are going to be gone by yourself, but nature doesn’t say that. According to nature in this poem, whenever we die we won’t be alone because there’s other dead people buried just how there is people on earth alive. Not only will we be dead, but we will also return to nature. In fact, I believe the author is trying to say there’s an afterlife. Also, as it can be seen this poem is really trying to make death sound better and not like a bad thing. “By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him, and lies down to pleasant dreams” (80-83). If I’m right, I believe this quote is trying to say to go to the grave like someone approaches the couch and has pleasant dreams. That means that death not bad, it’s just like sleeping on the couch and having good dreams. However, the difference there is that death will be sleeping forever. That is why I agree with what this poem is trying to show because we really shouldn’t fear death because it’s part of life and we can’t change that. To be honest, I’m not scared of death because I think of it as just as something else that is supposed to happen. Overall, this was an amazing poem with a deep and important message behind it. In fact, I think this poem can make people who are scared of death make feel a little bit better about it. For me, the lesson is to never fear death because it’s just part of life and its nature.

“To a Waterfowl” is the second poem we read in class which is actually written by the same author as the previous poem Thanatopsis. This poem starts by saying it was raining and it was dark. In the poem there was a person who saw a waterfowl flying in the sky. Since it was already late and dark, the speaker wondered where the fowl might be going at that time. Then I believe the poem said that the speaker realized that the waterfowl wasn’t just flying without any direction. I believe in this poem it’s saying somehow God is guiding the waterfowl. “There is a Power whose care Teaches thy way along that pathless coast, The desert and illimitable air, Lone wandering, but not lost” (17-20). I think that this quote is saying God teaches the way of the path all along even if you don’t think there is one. And in the last line I also think it’s saying even when you’re lost all alone God is there to guide you through the path. Honestly, I found those three lines really meaningful because I also believe God is always with us. Furthermore, the speaker then says the waterfowl looked tired and at the end it found a place to rest. At this point this is another of my favorite poems by Bryant. I truly believe this poem’s message is that God will guide you till you get to where you want to be. Therefore, when you’re alone and tired you should be like the waterfowl and keep flying because God is with you even in the hard times.

“Sonnet— To An American Painter Departing for Europe” is a sonnet written by William Cullen Bryant. In fact, in this poem he is even the speaker. If I’m being honest, I don’t quite remember everything we discussed in class about this poem. From the poem I can tell the poem is probably not going to be interesting but then again you can’t judge a book by its cover. Anyway, from what I was able to understand is that Bryant is in American giving advice to Cole who is going to Europe. Since this poem is about America and Europe I believe there is a quote in it that is a symbol of America. “Skies where the desert eagle wheels and scream” (6). I believe the word eagle in that quote is symbolizing America since that is one of its important symbols. I know the eagle represents freedom so if the speaker used it is because I believe he was trying to say that America is free while Europe is more like under command. I also think in the poem Bryant was trying to tell Cole how Europe was nothing like he painted it in his head. In addition, I believe this poem was saying America had more nature than Europe did which is something Cole wasn’t going to like. Overall, in the poem nature was really important and better than anything else. In fact, it was so important that Bryant just focused on comparing the nature on America to the one that Europe didn’t have. Moreover, throughout the whole comparison he kept himself positive. In this poem I would think the message is that the environment you like is important in order for you to be comfortable.

“Self-Reliance” was the first essay we read from this book. I remember this was one of my favorite essays because of the significant themes. I think the whole essay was basically just saying how you should be yourself and do your own thing. Even though the entire essay is about that I actually do have five quotes that stood out to me the most. “Thrust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string” (237). This is the first quote that stood out because it is saying to trust yourself and your heart because that’s makes you. Also, to me the brain and heart are a big part of us so you should do what your heart desires. Plus your heart is like love and kindness so you should love yourself and be you. Another interesting quote was “That envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide” (237). To me being envy is just being jealous of someone else simply because you desire what they have. Whenever that happens you’re going to want to have whatever they have and you won’t be yourself anyone. Copying someone else is just unnecessary because you should be thankful for what you already have. Not only that but I think nowadays people specially teens want to be like everyone else. Then people start being ignorant because they’re being someone else to be happy instead of being themselves. Also, this quote is important because it’s trying to say being like someone else is killing yourself. Honestly, that’s so true because if you’re someone else then it won’t be you anymore. “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers” (241). Falling into doing what others think you should be doing and even though you might not even be doing it right you still do it.

The fourth quote is “Let a man know his worth, and keep things under his feet” (243). I found that quote significant because it is saying a person should know their worth. That’s important because one itself is important and important. I also think this quote is saying people should keep everything within them because you should only trust yourself. I would say I can agree with that quote because honestly nowadays you really can’t trust anyone with your stuff before they tell others. Also, I agree that people should know their worth and not settle for any less. Therefore, only trust yourself and know your worth. Another significant quote is “A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done, shall give him peace” (237). This quote means that a person is happy and relieved when they know they have put in their best work and everything they’ve done. If someone is doing something but they’re not sure if they’re right, trying to do their best makes them feel better than just not doing it. Also, I think if you let someone do what you’re supposed to doesn’t make you happy because it’s not your work. However, if you put in all your effort by yourself you will feel good about yourself because after all, yourself is all you got. Overall, I really like the lesson in this essay because it is true, you can’t rely on anyone else but you. Also, nowadays people like teens try to be like people they see on social media but like this essay said, don’t kill yourself trying to be someone else.

“Resistance to Civil Government” is another essay we read. Honestly, it was boring to me because usually when it comes to stuff about government and history I’m just not interested. I believe the author somewhat talks about the issue with slavery and the American War. I also know that the essay starts by discussing how the government isn’t doing what it’s supposed to. “All men recognize the right the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to and to resist the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable” (955). I believe this quote is saying that people should do what they think is right and not follow the law because it’s not even being useful. And since the government isn’t doing its job, then people should not be part of it. Then as the essay goes I believe it talks about the United States not having a fair government. Some of the examples to prove that point were war and slavery. Also, he even says that protesting and voting don’t make a big difference when it comes to the government. In fact, he talks about his own experience when he wasn’t willing to pay taxes and went to jail for one night. Nowadays, that still happens, whenever people try to protest against the government they always get arrested. Overall, I would say we could relate our government right now to the essay because I believe our government isn’t doing its job. Oh, I almost forgot to mention this was kind of similar to the previous essay, “Self-Reliance.” I really think they could relate to each other because in “Self-Reliance” the essay was saying to trust yourself and to never do what others did. And that is like what this essay is saying, do what you believe is right and don’t do what the government says. In fact there is a quote that says, “I ask for not once no government, but at once a better government” (954). I believe that idea of having a better government is similar to the ideas from the previous essay because they both focus on encouraging an individual to stand up for themselves. In other words, trust your heart when it tells you what’s right even when the government isn’t doing what it’s supposed to. Also, both essays encourage individuals to have a voice in order to make a great change that can affect them greatly.

“My Kinsman, Major Molineux” was the first short story we read from this second book. This was about a character named Robin who goes to look for his kinsman in Boston which was Major Molineux. I believe he had went to look for him because he had offered him a job. Robin goes around asking people if they know where the Major is but nobody tells him. He first goes to a rich old man who reacts in an aggressive way. “What I have authority, I have— hem, hem— authority; and if this be the respect your betters, your feet shall be brought acquainted with the stocks by tomorrow” (334). I believe this quote is trying to say that when Robin tried to ask the man that was his response which shows he wasn’t nice at all. Besides that old man, Robin goes around asking other people that also just laugh at his question and don’t answer it. And so almost throughout the whole story he got three threats. Then what I remember about the discussion we had in class is that after Robin asked so many people, he eventually sat down and started thinking about his family and how they probably missed. Honestly, I feel like that is me after having a day at school going from class to class because I sometimes just start thinking about my family. I believe he started thinking about his family because they’re who make most people happy because they’re loved ones. But anyway, back to Robin looking for the Major. “There the torches blazed the brightest, there the moon shone out like day, and there, in tar-and-feathery dignity, sate his kinsman, Major Molineux!” (344). That quote right there proofs the point that Robin did see the major almost at the end of the short story. Honestly, I think that is all I can say about this short story.

“Young Goodman Brown” was the second short story we read in class. Like it says Brown on the title, in the short story he is the husband of Faith. Something that I learned from our class discussion is that Goodman meant Mr. Also, we never really learn his name. To be honest, this short story was quite easy to understand but there were also parts I would be confused about. From what I was able to understand is that Brown was going to leave his wife to go to the forest. And just like other stories I’ve read, this one takes places in Salem too. Something that we said was odd in our class discussion were the pink ribbons that Faith was wearing. A symbol that I would say was meaningful was the forest where he was going to. This reminded me of the other stories I’ve read where forests was the place people would do witchcraft. For instance, in the Scarlet Letter the forests is where witches would go. However, I believe he wasn’t going to the forest because of that. Also, this movie reminded me of the movie called The Witch, because once again, the evil forces take place in the woods. “‘What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow!’” (346). I think that quote is trying saying when Brown was on his way to the forest he was actually scared of what could be in there. In fact, that is also why I believe he isn’t into any witchcraft stuff. Overall, the forest is still a significant symbol in this story. Anyways, back to where I left off with the story. As I was saying, when Brown was on his way to the forest he was actually scared of what could be in there. Something that surprised me was when Brown saw a man in the road and he told him he knew Brown’s dad and grandpa. Even though it was kind of a plot twist for me, I think Brown didn’t even believe him. After all he was just trying to go back home with Faith. Furthermore, I truly think that Goodman Brown thought everyone was in the side with the devil. He screams her name and unfortunately he believes he she is part of the devil too. Then at this point he has no hope left within him anymore. In my opinion, it was like he was crazy because everyone around him looked bad. Now what I didn’t really like about this story is that at the end of Goodman Brown. In fact, he stopped trusting people that lived in the same village as him. Not only that but I think he slowly began to not love his wife as he did before.”

“The Masque of the Red Death” was definitely my short favorite short story we ever read written by Edgar Allan Poe. Oh my.. Where do I start from? I’m not going to lie but the first time I read this short story I was lost. However, whenever we discussed it in class I was able to understand everything. Honestly, this was a quite interesting story that I really liked. In this short story, there’s a Prince named Prospero and a deadly disease called Red Death. Of course since he was rich he didn’t really have to worry about others. “The external world could take care of itself” (662). In that quote he is referring to the poor people. Basically he is saying him and his rich friends will be in his palace behind a wall while the poor people were left outside to die. As it can be seen, socioeconomic status plays a big role in this short story. Since he was selfish, he was more than happy to throw a masked ball for his guests six months after he left the poor people by themselves. The ball took place in seven different rooms that were also different colors. The seven colors were: blue, purple, green, orange, white, violet and black. To me that was really weird because usually a ball takes place in a big room. However, this ball is like unique because those seven rooms were different rooms and in my opinion they represented something. In my opinion, those rooms represented different stages of Prince Prospero’s life. In fact, right now I just remembered how in class we discussed that the rooms were going from east to rest which is like sunrise and sunset. Also, besides the rooms being different colors, there was a big clock in the room that was black with red windows. That clock makes a loud noise so everytime it does people stop doing everything they are doing. I believe the clock is in the dark room because death is usually represented as dark and the clock is the time we have in life. Anyway, later at midnight Prince Prospero and his guests see that an unfamiliar guest arrived to the ball. Whenever they looked at the person they saw the person was dressed as a person who died of the Black Death. As the new guest makes his way to the rooms Prospero starts to follow him as they go from room to room. Then this is when everything takes a whole turn in the story. “The summoning the wild courage of despair, a throng of the revellers at whose threw themselves into the black apartment, and seizing the mummer, whose tall figure stood erect and motionless within the shadow of the ebony clock….” (666) The new guest and Prospero get to the black room and as he tries to confront the new guest, he dies. This quote is also saying how the last room which was black does play a big role in the plot.It also shows how these dull colors portray death since it was this very room where everyone died. “And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had become the thief of the night” (666). That quote is saying who killed Prospero: the Red Death. Not only did he die but also all of his guests. To me, whenever the Red Death disguised as a corpse and he was going from room to room it was like death was going through all of Prospero’s life. However, the theme for the whole story is something else. The message behind this story is that you can’t escape death despite what you do. They were rich so they had a place to keep themselves safe but then that’s the thing, no matter how rich or poor you are you will die. They all thought they would be able to keep death out with the walls but in reality, death is going to happen when it’s your time. In fact, this short story reminded me of the poem Thanatopsis because in the poem it talks about how you shouldn’t fear death and in here it’s what they’re doing. But then again like it was said in the poem, everyone dies no matter what so you shouldn’t fear death or try to escape from it. Overall, this message is really important because it teaches people that not matter what everyone will die how they are meant to. I see it this way, death killed the whole kingdom then it still made it inside the palace because it knew everyone had to die even the rich people.

“Annabel Lee” is also a poem written by Edgar Allan Poe. Honestly by this point I’ve read so many short stories and poems by him. To be honest, this poem wasn’t so bad but I think other of his poems and stories were a little bit better. I believe the first stanza is the speaker talking about one of his memories from years ago. “In a kingdom by the sea That a maiden there whom you may kno

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