Courage By Anne Sexton Essay

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In “Courage,” by Anne Sexton, the speaker talks about how courage is shown throughout the stages of a person's life, starting with childhood and ending with death. Throughout the poem, the speaker conveys their definition of courage and what it means to have it. The speaker believes that courage is a painful persistence through the pitfalls of life and, years later, accepting it when it comes; this theme is shown through Sexton's use of comparisons, word choice, and structure. Through allusions, metaphors, and similes, Sexton is able to portray her interpretation of courage and all that lies beneath it. The word “courage” in and of itself often brings to mind a vision of patriotism, brave soldiers fighting for justice. It’s a term often associated with the act of war. Sexton refers to this connotation in the second stanza, which is a more evident metaphor for war. The first four lines focus on the aforementioned pain behind the courage. “If you…show more content…
The first stanza talks about multiple firsts; walking, riding a bike, “the first spanking when your heart/ went on a journey all alone” (6-7), all implying childhood. The second and third stanzas don’t suggest a certain age, but each stanza begins with the word “later,” so there is definitely a time difference between them. Despite the ambiguity, the intent of these middle standards is to continue to show the pain behind courage, and how the circumstances change as we age, but it will always be there. The final stanza covers old age and death, and describes courage as accepting death when it comes. “ the last moment/ when death opens the back door/ you’ll put on your carpet slippers/ and stride out” (44-47). Sexton’s set up of the poem as a timeline illustrates the theme by showing how it is apparent in all parts of

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