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When Death Comes

When Death Comes

by Mary Oliver

Awe and Amazement Quotes Page 1

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

When death comes
like […] (lines 1-2)

Right away in the opening images that describe the approach of death, we can see our speaker's capacity for imagination, and for taking in the vast and strange nature of an awesome force like death. While the images certainly can be scary, there is also a sense of wonder and appreciation for all the wild and different forms death can take, the ways it can feel.

Quote #2

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness? (lines 9-10)

This line is the first clear announcement that our speaker intends to make curiosity her response to the unknown, and not fear or disinterest. She intends to be open and available to the wonders and possibilities of the world, and what might be beyond this world.

Quote #3

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood, (lines 11-12)

That line break puts emphasis on the act of looking upon everything. We cannot be amazed and awed and we cannot get to know the world, if we don't observe it. As the line continues, it also stresses seeing the connections between things. It makes those connections seem as important as the things themselves.

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