Critical Review: “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night,” by Dylan Thomas

The two critical approaches I chose are biographical criticism and reader-response. The reason I chose biographical criticism is because the author died at a relatively young age of 39, and the poem seems to be centered on the fear of death. I also chose reader-response, because I can relate to the words of the poem and the fear the author felt.

“Biographical criticism puts heavy emphasis on the influence that the life of the author had on his or her work.” (pg. 3). After reading the poem several times, and doing some research on the author, I saw a clear connection between the author and his own work. I read that he served in the military and he and his wife left London in 1944 to avoid the air raids, a clear sign of fear of death. I also read that he was a heavy drinker, which is a sign of depression.

Reader-response is used when the reader of the literature can directly relate to the work itself. As a combat medic, and seeing the effects war can have on the people it takes, I myself feared death at times while I was overseas. “Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight, Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” (Thomas).

Works Cited

Muller, Gilbert H. and John A. Williams. “Reading and Responding to Literature and Film.” ENGL 200: Composition and Literature. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011. 2-18. Web. 12 August 2011.

Thomas, Dylan. “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.” 1947.