Related Topics

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 704 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Afterlife Study Guide

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 2

The speaker sets up the frame for his depictions of the afterlife in the first sentence with the claim, "They are moving off in all imaginable directions." The remainder of the poem charts those directions. The "silent Lazarus" the speaker refers to is from the New Testament. In the Book of John, Jesus raises Lazarus of Bethany from the dead, but Lazarus does not speak of his experience. The narrator suggests that Lazarus knew that the afterlife was...

(read more)

This section contains 704 words
(approx. 2 pages 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.
Follow Us on Facebook