"To An Athlete Dying Young". Anti Essays. 20 Dec. 2015
‘To an Athlete Dying Young’ par A. E. Housman
Meaning: The meaning of the poem is that though a person is dead, they or their legend are still living on (if only in memory). When it is obvious the athlete has died, "Eyes the shady night has shut," (To an Athlete Dying Young, Housman) the author continues to describe the athlete living out a victory. This is symbolizing that somewhere out there the athlete is still living on.
The famous poem To an Athlete Dying Young by A. E. Housman.
In his poem “To An Athlete Dying Young,” Housman contrasted the popular view of life. Humans always believe that every person’s life, in spite of struggles, sufferings, pains, and triumphs, must be lived to the fullest until old age and death claims us. However, Housman presented a different lens through the idea that dying young is better because a person will not experience the bitterness of his own downfall when fame and glory no longer smiles on him. The height and bliss of glory and the bitterness of death are the two main themes of the poem, supporting the poet’s belief that dying early is best for us.
This poem was first published in 1896 as part of a volume ofpoetry entitled A Shropshire Lad. “To an Athlete Dying Young”offers a rather pessimistic view of life, typical of Housman’sverse. The speaker of this poem is a mourner at thefuneral of a young man who was a famous athlete. The speakerspeaks directly to the boy at the cemetery.First have a student volunteer read "" to the class, and then read the poem again yourself. Alternatively, to help visually set the stage of "To an Athlete Dying Young," have students stand and form two lines. Then ask for a student volunteer to read the poem while walking through the student lines; this reading set-up visually mimics the poem's two processionals: 1) cheering the young athlete after a victory and 2) carrying the coffin during a funeral procession.