Nothing in life is as dramatic as the contrasting views people have about death. Some rejoice at the chance to escape their hardships and enjoy the peacefulness of eternal life with God. Others are overwhelmed with the fear and uncertainty of the unknown and just want life as they know it to continue no matter the quality. This is a struggle that people often seem to have somewhere in the back of their minds and feel the need to explore. Both Robert Frost in "Reluctance" and Countee Cullen in "The Wise" attempt once again to discuss this topic of personal conflict - death. The two poets, like most people, express contrasting views of their readiness to accept and embrace death as the end of their existence. Both use nature to highlight their thoughts, yet they look at the situation very differently. In Cullen's "The Wise," the speaker "longs to be" a member of the group who have passed on from this life. The speaker in Frost's "Reluctance," however, thinks it would be a "treason" to "bow and accept the end.".
"Reluctance" is a poem that shows the speaker's very negative, scared and reluctant view of death. The speaker believes that it will be a betrayal of himself and his life to accept that it is over. "I have climbed the hills of view / And looked at the world, and descended;" are two lines that use nature to describe that the speaker has gone through life, which is represented by the hills, and observed. When the speaker descends from the hills, he tells the reader that he feels that he is on the "down-slope" of life, after the prime or "peak" of his life's "travels." The speaker mentions that he has come home and the reader realizes that home has two meanings - "home" as in the place he lives and the symbolic "home" with God. Another use of this visual imagery is when the speaker says, "The leaves are dead on the ground, / Save those that the oak is keeping". This passage intimates that the speaker feels and knows that he is in the autumn of his life.