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The Afterlife Summary & Study Guide

Billy Collins
This Study Guide consists of approximately 20 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Afterlife.
This section contains 324 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
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Stanza 1

In the opening stanza of "The Afterlife," the speaker addresses readers as "you," observing that, as they prepare for sleep, others are dying and "setting out on their journey." Journey, in this sense, refers to the experience of the soul after it leaves the body. Collins is drawing on various religious traditions that claim the physical body holds the essence of a person which is released upon death.

Stanza 3

This stanza describes two popular views of the experience people have immediately following death. The first view comes from those who have literally died and have come back to life, via cardiopulmonary resuscitation or natural means. Such people frequently describe seeing a blinding white light and passing through a tunnel or tunnel-like shape. The second view is more explicitly Judeo-Christian in its imagery and involves a God who judges people by the life they have led, assigning them...

(read more from the Poem Summary section)

This section contains 324 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy The Afterlife Study Guide
Copyrights
Poetry for Students
The Afterlife from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.