by John Keats
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.
I'm Happiest When Most AwayEmily Brontë
Emily Jane Brontë (1818-1848) was an English writer who is best known for her novel, Wuthering Heights. In this short poem, Brontë contemplates existing in a solitary, meditative state.Pair “I’m Happiest When Most Away” with “When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be” and ask students to compare these Romantic texts. Do they share any similarities in theme or structure?
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy EveningRobert Frost
Robert Frost (1874-1963) was one of the most popular and critically respected American poets in history. At first glance, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" is a rather simple poem — a man pausing his horse to observe a wintery landscape before moving on — but its carefully constructed lines, like the woods, hold a deeper power.Pair “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” with “When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be” and ask students to discuss any similar themes. Consider Frost’s repetition of the final stanza.
This informational text describes the terrible tragedy of Pompeii in 79 A.D., when the Roman town was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. It details life in the town before the eruption and how volcanic ash has preserved the town for modern day archaeologists to explore.Pair “Pompeii” with “When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be” and ask students to discuss how the two texts approach death using different genres, tones, and techniques. What is the difference between approaching death in a literary or informational manner? Were there surprising similarities between the two texts?
On the Death of Anne BrontëCharlotte Brontë
In the poem "On the Death of Anne Brontë," Charlotte Brontë discusses the death of her sister, and how she feels about facing life without her.Pair “When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be” with “On the Death of Anne Brontë” and ask students to compare the two poets' views on death. How does Keats’ fears regarding his own death compare to Brontë’s fears concerning her sister’s death?
The DevilGuy de Maupassant
In Guy de Maupassant's "The Devil", Honore Bontemps bargains with a nurse to take care of his dying mother.Pair “The Devil” with “When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be” and ask students to compare and contrast how the speaker in the poem and how Mother Bontemps face death? Is either afraid of death? Why or why not? How do Madam Bontemps and the speaker view death differently?
When You Are OldWilliam Butler Yeats
In William Butler Yeat's "When You Are Old," a speaker asks someone to reflect on their life and on lost love in their old age.Pair “When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be” with “When You Are Old” and ask students to discuss the different approaches each poet takes on the topic of growing old. How do Keats’ fears of not being able to accomplish his dreams before he dies compare to Yeats’ feelings of regret?
Contents of the Dead Man's PocketJack Finney
In "Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket," a man must confront his mortality and re-examine his priorities in the face of an unexpected challenge.Pair “When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be” with “Contents of the Dead Man’s Pocket” and ask students to discuss the common themes present in each text. How do both Tom and the speaker of the poem focus on small details that they will miss out on should their lives come to an early end? How does the author’s choice to focus on small details impact the mood of each passage? What do both Tom’s and the speaker’s fears about death indicate about the human desire to be remembered and leave a legacy?