We are all dying. As a society we try not to think about this too much. We are have been raised to fear the unknown. For many of us the greatest unknown is: What is life like after death? This often causes a fear of death.
In Claude McKay’s “If We Must Die” he talks about how “we” ( the majority of people in society) die in certain ways. Some people what want to go down in a peaceful way, “So that our precious blood may not be shed” (McKay). Others want to go down in a brave way, “If we must die—oh, let us nobly die,” (McKay). Perhaps we can all agree that we want to go down being remembered. We want people to remember us after we are no longer here in this physical world. McKay wrote, “Shall be constrained to honor us though dead” (McKay).
McKay is using an ABAB pattern that allows the poem to flow better. Unlike several of the poems we have covered in class, this poem is pretty straightforward. I’m not getting a sense that he is trying to have a hidden meaning. He just flat out tells readers that he is talking about death. Must of the authors that we have covered try to be discreet about their inner feelings and fears. I really liked this poem, I was able to understand it without having to read between the lines. There’s no need for readers to read this over and over again to get McKay’s point.
McKay, Claude. If We Must Die. Print.