Courage Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 23 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Courage.
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"Courage" argues the idea that it is only through fortitude and courage that human beings are able to survive and flourish. Such a notion effectively dismisses the notion that luck, genes, or destiny play the major role in determining the shape of a person's life. Sexton highlights this idea in the first stanza when her speaker describes childhood as a time of loneliness and despair, when people are ostracized from family and friends because of the way they look or behave. Making it through childhood, the speaker suggests, requires that response to pain be kept in, not expressed. The speaker symbolically describes this process in the last two lines of the first stanza: "You drank their acid / and concealed it" and in the second stanza in the lines, "your courage was a small coal / that you kept swallowing." Sexton's poem repeatedly makes the German philosopher Friedrich...

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This section contains 413 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Courage Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Courage from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.