Analysis of “Not Marble Nor Gilded Monument” and “The Fault In Our Stars”

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Not Marble Nor The Gilded Monument by Archibald MacLeish is a poem about the fleeting nature of life and the importance of every moment. The speaker reflects on a woman who has passed away and how he will always remember her, despite others forgetting the details of her life. He chooses to focus on her youth and beauty, rather than specific memories. The line And a leaf on your hair is symbolic of the woman’s short life. The poem is similar to the theme of John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars in that both emphasize the importance of remembering and praising the lives of those who have passed. Peter Van Houten believes that language cannot bring back the dead, but Hazel and the poem argue that we must remember and celebrate those who have passed.

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The poem “Not Marble Nor The Gilded Monument” by Archibald MacLeish emphasizes the significance of each moment and the fleeting nature of a woman’s life. The phrase “Therefore I will not speak of the undying glory of women” suggests that the speaker will refrain from discussing the deceased woman to others, but will always remember her. Although others may forget the sound of her garments and the sound of her shoe, the speaker will not. However, when speaking to others, he will only mention her youth, straightness, and fair complexion, rather than recounting every memory such as her graceful walking and scarlet mouth. Moreover, the line “And you stood in the door and the sun was a shadow of leaves on your shoulders/ And a leaf on your hair” symbolizes the brevity of life. Just as a leaf remains in one’s hair for but a few seconds, the woman’s life was short-lived if she died young. The image of the woman standing in the doorway with sunlight casting leaf-shaped shadows on her shoulders represents her life. He shares this detail with others because it demonstrates that every moment had meaning to her and each moment spent with her was cherished.

The poem “Not Marble Nor The Gilded Monument” is connected to The Fault In Our Stars through Peter Van Houten’s letter in response to Augustus. In the letter, he explains that everyone in life has a flaw, or harmartia, and how the poem reminds him of Hazel Grace. He believes that language has the power to bury but not resurrect, and therefore, when Hazel dies, he must remember and appreciate her as she was while enjoying her company in the present. He advises against speaking ill of her after her passing. However, Hazel’s wish is to ensure she doesn’t harm those around her when she dies. The poem and Peter Van Houten both oppose this viewpoint by emphasizing the importance of praising and remembering someone after their death.

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Analysis of “Not Marble Nor Gilded Monument” and “The Fault In Our Stars”. (2016, Jun 27). Retrieved from

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