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The problem of death

Almost every one of us thinks about the problem of death time and again. This problem touches our lives, our relatives, our friends. People regard the problem of death from different points of view.

Someone is afraid of it, others are waiting for it impatiently; or they are just indifferent thinking about it. For someone death is something very serious and frightened, for others it is just a natural, inevitable process. Someone takes it for granted; other one tries to avoid it. Death can be timely and early, deserved and unjust, cruel or placid.

Nowadays we can retrace all these differences, because every day we run across the topic of death on TV, on video, in Internet, in papers, in literature. Thomas Hardy and Boris Slutsky’s poetry is not an exception. They touched upon the problem of death in their poems:  "The Man He Killed" by Thomas Hardy and "How They Killed My Grandmother" by Boris Slutsky. We can observe some interesting contrast points in description of death in these poems.

Comparison between two deaths in Th.Hardy and B.Slutsky’s poems.

The main item of Th.Hardy and B.Slutsky’s poems is a problem of death. But the description of death is quite different in these poems. It excites different feeling and emotions.

There is a point that makes these two deaths look similar. Deaths are realized during the war, so there can be distinguished one common motive that led to these deaths – the animosity between foes, their aggression and desire to win.

But this is the only similar characteristic. The way these deaths were accomplished differs in both poems.

In Hardy’s poem death is presented like something more careless, not serious, even ridiculous. It seems to be an ordinary phenomenon, just a result of aggressive emotions:

“…I shot at him and he at me,
And killed him in his place.

I shot him dead because – 
Because he was my foe, 
Just so – my foe of course he was; 
That’s clear enough…”[1] 

The two men shot at each other in cold blood, and it does not matter for them who will die. They do not feel sorry for themselves as well as for their enemies. There is nothing to be regretted whether you will die or your enemy.

In Slutsky’s poem we can see how unfair death could be. The old woman does not bear any malice; she doesnot want somebody to die. She just defends herself and her hapless nation: 

But diminutive grandmother, Lilliputian,
My seventy-year-old grandmother,
Swore at the Germans,
Cursed like a trooper
Yelled at them where I was.
She cried;'My grandson's at the front.
Just you dare
Lay hands on me.

The old woman is helpless, in despair. She wants to live, to see her family, friends. But enemies have nopity for her. They just kill her without ceremony, but with cruelty and coolness. This death is more tragic.

In Hardy’s poem a man who was killed was aware of what could happen. He wanted to kill another person even if it cost him his life. He had evil intentions and was punished for it.

But in Slutsky’s poem there were no evil intentions. The old woman just desired to prove that nobody had any right to kill or hurt others. Her death was just a way for enemies to prove that they are stronger and more powerful. But indeed they showed that they are worthless, base people, having no respect for people.


Th.Hardy and B.Slutsky demonstrated us two kinds of death: deserved one and unfair one. Their poems prove my thesis that people regard the problem of death from different points of view. Somebody considers it to be like a game. He thinks it is not a serious thing, he always eager to hurt, to kill others. As a rule in this case he is punished for such thoughts.

Someone believes that death is a way to prove his strength and power. Just in order to be superior a person can kill somebody. As a result he is capable of committing something very awful and unfair – undeserved crime against others.

I believe, Th.Hardy and B.Slutsky’s poems can be good lessons for all people with various opinions about the deathArticle Search, as they allow seeing at death from different points of view.

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