© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
When Death Comes

When Death Comes


by Mary Oliver

When Death Comes Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. What does the speaker accomplish by giving the approach of death several images that are very specific and yet seemingly unrelated? Do they make death more understandable, or do they make it stranger and more complicated?
  2. What would it mean to "look upon everything/ as a brotherhood and a sisterhood"? Is the way we normally look upon the world anything like that?
  3. How would you like to be able to face your death? Do you think our speaker's approach is a good one? Is it even possible?
  4. When our speaker declares her desire to leave the world without being angry or upset, and also declares that she wants to live fully in the world, as more than just a visitor, do these two desires make sense together? Wouldn't it be easier to leave the world if you were less attached to it, if you just saw yourself as a visitor?

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...