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The Truth the Dead Know Essay Sample

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The Truth the Dead Know Essay Sample

This poem by Anne Sexton is centered on the death of her parents. The poem is about the fact that she has not gotten over their deaths. The first two lines “Gone, I say and walk from church, refusing the stiff procession to the grave.” are about her leaving the burial ground not being able to stand the burial of her father. She goes on and talks about how tired she is of being brave and she is to sorrowful to attend her father’s funeral. She does not have enough energy to go to her father’s funeral. This is gotten in line 4, “It is June, I am tired of being brave.” “It is June”, simply tell us the time of her father’s death. Line 5 and 6, “We drive to the cape I cultivate myself where the sun gutters from the sky”, talks about her leaving the place of funeral to put herself together. These lines are supposed to be romantic because of the nature words used like “cape”, “sun”, “sky”, but Sexton uses the word “gutter” alongside with “sun” (line 6) which means her view of it is disgusting and appalling.

One thing readers of Sexton’s poem get to understand are her feelings towards life and death. She feels death is better than life. She feels that death is a life ‘No one’s alone”, and men kill for. Her depression has gotten to a stage where it seems nothing can compensate her loss or change her feeling about anything.


The tone of the poem is dark and sorrowful. It is full of bitterness and sadness. The feeling and the mood of the poet is sadness and we realize that the poet is in a state of grief which is reflected all around the poem because the poem is centered round the death of the parents of the poet which she has not gotten over.


The poem is made up of four quatrains, that is, four stanzas with four lines each. The poem rhymes but it does not have a completely full rhyme scheme. It is rhythmic and the number of syllables in a line varies from the other lines. For instance, the first line has 7 syllables, while the second line has 11 syllables. Most of the other lines have 9-10 syllables per line, but there are exceptions. The poem is enjambed in the last three paragraphs but it still has end stops. The poem has a traditional structure but has a modern theme. The theme is usually seen in modernist poetry.


The form and content do not work together. The content of the poem is what is read in a modernist poetry. The structure and form of the poem resembles a traditional poem. Although, there are some little things in the form of the poem that works together with the content which makes it a modern poem.

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