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Poetry Analysis – How To Watch Your Brother Die by Michael Lassell essay example
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Poetry Analysis – How To Watch Your Brother Die by Michael Lassell

English

Introduction
The poem talks about the unconditional and selfless love that a brother can give to his sibling. In this scenario, the reader feels the straight brother’s remorse when he faces the death of his HIV positive brother. It is painful to watch a loved one dying and feel helpless since it is impossible to provide him with any kind of treatment. When reading the poem, the reader is able to feel the true love of the brother who tries to understand the dying sibling’s way of life despite he is desperately against it. The issue of love between two individuals of the same sex is currently one of the most controversial subjects in the modern society. Another kind of love presented in the poem is the filial love which suggests that blood is truly thicker than water.

Thesis Statement: The selfless and unconditional love of a brother for his sibling is the greatest form of love that will prevail in a time of family crisis.

Discussion

The poem of Lassell talks about the greatest form of love that can exist between brothers. To start with, the narrator expresses a strong regret concerning some of the decisions he made in his life. The initial reaction of the narrator is to distance himself from his brother who admits of being gay. However, as the narrator retells the story of his brother’s death, he changes his opinion since he tries to understand him and find strength to support him.
The narrator’s grief and lament is evident if to consider his statement about the duty to “drive to Mexico for unproved drugs that might help his brother live longer” (Valleau and Finnbogason 175). Even when the narrator tries to explain to the border guard that he has to provide his brother with illegal drugs in order to prolong his life,?the guard angrily tells him that “he cannot bring the same across” (Valleau and Finnbogason 175).

The narrator feels helpless since he cannot do anything to save his brother’s life. The last thing he wants to see is his brother slowly deteriorating and waiting to accept his death. He asks God to help him save his brother when he says “Offer God anything to bring your brother back. Know you have nothing God could possibly want” (Valleau and Finnbogason 175). The narrator wants to curse God for his brother’s unfortunate fate but still he fees that God is merciful when saying: “Curse God, but not abandon him” (Valleau and Finnbogason 175).
The narrator cannot accept the reality that his brother was gay. However, he realizes that he has to accept his brother as he is. Finally, the narrator is able to forgive his sibling though he fails to understand him, and he becomes aware of the fact that the “scar of the wound he felt for his loss is all that’s left of him” (Valleau and Finnbogason 175). The narrator experiences pain and sorrow watching his brother slowly slipping away. Unfortunately, death is inevitable.

The narrator also pointed out that he was amazed with the profound relationship that his brother had with his lover since it was based on solid commitment and incomparable to the relationship of a married couple. This idea is reflected in the following statement: “How could anyone’s commitment be deeper than a husband and wife?” (Valleau and Finnbogason 175). The narrator witnesses how his brother’s lover does everything to care for his beloved and becomes the source of strength for the latter until he slips into an irrevocable coma. The narrator comforts his brother’s lover as he sees him sobbing in his arms.
Additionally, there are several elements that make the poem outstanding: tone, figurative language and point of view. The tone of the poem points out to the seriousness of the situation. Te attitude of the writer towards the subject of the literary work is represented through the narrator’s mood, his words and assumptions. Thanks to the tone the author tries to communicate the idea of being able to support the family members regardless their lifestyle. To continue, the figurative language used in the poem helps to grasp the idea suggested by the author. Such phrases as “a steel face”, “opened your eyebrow with a sharp stick or “the scar will be all that’s left of him” help to imagine the main characters feelings. (Valleau and Finnbogason). Lastly, the point of view helps to understand the author’s thoughts correctly. There are two main positions: for and against homosexuality. By contrasting these points of view the reader can arrive at their personal conclusion.

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Conclusion

The unconditional love of a sibling for his own flesh and blood is one of the strongest kinds of love. The narrator managed to demonstrate his great love for his brother by doing everything possible to save his life. The risk that the narrator had to encounter was the probability of being caught by the authorities. Thus, neither money nor power could save the life of the dear person. Still, the straight brother proved his devotion and love notwithstanding his life principles.

Works Cited:

Valleau, Al and Jack Finnbogason. The Nelson Introduction to Literature. Ontario: Nelson,
2004. Print.

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