Throughout our readings I have found several elements that speak to me. These elements are varied and different for each of the poems and stories we have read, however, the theme which seems to be most common is the theme of conflict. That conflict can be the conflict between characters, the conflict between choices or the conflict one faces when faced with the ultimate finality of death.
I found the theme of conflict in our readings in the poems and stories of John Keats “When I have fears that I may cease to be”, Langston Hughes “Dream Deferred” and Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday Use”. In this essay I hope to accurately describe my findings and beliefs that conflict is a common theme which ties all of the great literary works together.
John Keats poem, which is written in the form of a classic English sonnet was originally sent in a letter to John Hamilton Reynolds, dated 31 January 1818. There is a great deal of conflict in this poem. Mainly, Keats has the conflict between his life as he knows it and his impending death. At the time the poem was written Keats was suffering from poor health, caused by tuberculosis. Keats recognizes the fact that death is inevitable but he doesn’t want to die before he writes his poems, before his "pen has glean'd my teeming brain” the conflict being that he feels he will die before all of his thought are expressed on paper. He goes on to say that e is afraid that he shall never be able to look at his "fair creature of an hour", the conflict here being that he wants to be with his true love but if and when he dies he will no longer be able to be with her.
Keats is saying that he has deep fears of his eventual death. His conflict lies with his desire to say so many things to the object of his affection, his love, but he fears that he will not have the time to fully express himself before he passes. Although the fear of death is present his main fear may not be death, but the fact that one day his poetic...