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The Missing Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 24 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Missing.
This section contains 925 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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Community vs. Solitude

In "The Missing," the speaker assumes a terrible responsibility as a voice forced to speak not only for itself but the countless others whom death has silenced. It is the way the speaker solves this dilemma of representation that makes the poem a unique achievement. In speaking of the serf, the sudden unexpected condition of loss and loneliness in which the speaker is suddenly entrenched, he is able to address the grave plague that has threatened any sense of community. Thus, a vibrant and living link is established between the living and the dead that otherwise would be impossible.

The arc of the poem moves from solitude to a vital sense of community, and then back to the sole voice devoid of these social connections. In the first stanza, the speaker's friends have begun to "fall sick, grow thin, / And drop away." He finds himself confronting...

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This section contains 925 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Missing Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
The Missing from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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