Donne and W;t
For full understanding and therefore effect of the texts to be achieved, one first must comprehend each and then the parallels between them. The major features of these parallels are the struggles each has with love, death and God. This combined with the pedantic and astute use of language results in a loop between them, where each new realisation affects the interpretation of both. Through comparative analysis, the reshaping of Donne??™s poetry could be seen, increasing not only my appreciation but also that of the concepts within. This revealed the contextual variation in values, beliefs and ideas, especially the nature of death within, which greatly influenced me into re-evaluate aspects of my own life. In particular is my own experience with death, when my Aunt rejected further chemotherapy with full knowledge it would shorten her life.
Both Donne and Edson write about the inexorable nature of death, exploring the resistance to deaths inevitability. In W;t this is presented immediately by the protagonist breaking the 4th wall, and satirising her own death. ???I am waiting till someone asks me this question and I am dead..I??™m a little sorry I??™ll miss that.??? This is also demonstrated through the internal monologue the protagonist has when learning of her illness, focusing on the academia rather than the implications upon her own life. ???Insidious. Hmm curious word choice. Cancer..Cancel.??? This can be seen in Death be not proud via the defiant tone that challenges death (???Mighty and dreadful???), and the personification of death (???Thou art slave??? ) demonstrating the speakers resistance. These intellectual barriers the protagonist and her medical counterparts have developed have removed emotion to a bare unabating professionalism. This lack of emotion is highlighted by Edson??™s lack of incorporation of the ???love sonnets??™ within W;t (Only in one flashback scene). It is also a direct paradox to Donne, a ,man very much founded in emotion. This has led me to form my own views upon the morality aspect of medicine, and also recognise my own barriers against death, unacceptance.
The higher life expectation and rarity of death within today??™s context in comparison to Donne??™s, has increased its power and effect. This contextual shift in this idea also affected the values, moving towards a aspect of simplicity, away from the complexity within Donne??™s work. This was clearly seen within W;t, in the rejection of Donne(Complexity) for a child??™s story( Simplicity). ???..I??™ll recite something by Donne (E.M)??¦ Nooooooo!(Vivian)???. The suspicion the protagonist showed of this simplicity was reflective of the ???knowledge era??™ of the 21st century. This simplicity of death made me realise why my Aunt had rejected treatment and also come to terms with her choice.
The major difference between the two texts is the way they treat religion and God. For Donne, these are the central questions of a serious, thinking life with his whole culture supporting this view that the aim of life is to attain salvation (Seen in If poisonous minerals). This view is no longer a dominant one in our now secular society. Edson in so had to reshape salvation and the spiritual realm to the modern context. Using religion to emphasis the stoic stages of acceptance and compare the position of science in comparison to divinity. Taking the basic underlying aspects behind his view on religion, is shown in W;t via the antidote to If poisonous minerals within the childs story. In W;t, this acceptance is also found through the literal and metaphorical ???human touch??™ of Susie in particular the metaphor of the popsicle to the conceit of the compass (within Valediction forbidding mourning).
The move from morality (within religion) towards that of practicality (Science) helped me change my views on certain ethical issues. Such as the right to refuse further treatment, previously thinking it was immoral for doctors to allow patients to do that.
Overall the effect this comparative study has had on me has essentially opened my eyes to issues such as death of which I usually seek to ignore. However whilst understanding the simplicity and acceptance concepts I cannot apply them to my own struggle with this inevitability, lacking both the life experience and actual confrontation to prompt me down that path.