by Linda Pastan
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
Death Be Not Proud
- John Donne
In "Death Be Not Proud," the speaker mocks death for its arrogance and supposed power.Pair “The Coming of Night” with “Death Be Not Proud” and ask students to compare the tones in the two poems. What phrasing, imagery, or other literary devices to the two poets use to paint their pictures of death, and how do those things end up creating such different tones? Do the speakers have the same attitude towards death? Why or why not?
We Grow Accustomed to the Dark
- Emily Dickinson
- c. 1862
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was an American poet who spent most of her life in seclusion. This poem was written in 1862, but was published posthumously (or after Dickinson’s death) in 1953. In this poem, the speaker discusses "the Dark," something unknown and ever-present.Pair “The Coming of Night” with “We Grow Accustomed to the Dark” and ask students to analyze the use of darkness and night in literary and poetic discussions of death. Why is darkness so often used to talk about death? What makes it such a universal symbol?
- Robert Frost
In this overtly dark poem by Frost, a husband and wife grieve differently over their recently deceased child.Compare “The Coming of Night” with “Home Burial” and ask students to contrast the tone in the two poems. Why is the tone so drastically different? What can you infer is different about the speaker in “The Coming of Night” from the speaker in “Home Burial”? Are there any universal themes about death that you can compare between the two poems?
A Prayer for the Living
- Ben Okri
In Ben Okri’s “A Prayer for the Living,” adapted from a longer work, a narrator describes the search for loved ones among the dead.Pair “The Coming of Night” with “A Prayer for the Living” and ask students to discuss how both the story and the poem portray death. In Linda Pastan’s poem, the speaker describes different journeys from life to death. Which metaphor in the poem best encompasses the narrator’s passing in “A Prayer for the Living”?
Excerpt from “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”
- Jonathan Edwards
In this excerpt from, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Jonathan Edwards shares his views on the relationship between God and sinners.Pair “The Coming of Night” with “Excerpt from ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’” and ask students to discuss how each text explores death. How does Pastan’s depiction of death compare to how Jonathan Edwards describes the end for sinners? How would students describe the speaker’s attitude regarding death in the poem? How does this compare to the constant threat of death and hell that the speaker portrays in “Excerpt from ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’”?