Dead Boy


John Crowe Ransom's "Dead Boy" is a poem about the different opinions in society regarding a child's death. This child while living, built himself many reputations among the town's people. None of the members of society felt it was there duty to help or inform this child of the path he was taken. However, when he dies some criticize his life and feel the need to criticize his actions in life. While all the time knowing they did nothing to change his path. Others feel sorry, but are just as guilty for not helping a child who might have had a future. Instead he is lying in a coffin dead. Society is left to wonder whether his death was necessary?
The first paragraph of the poem discusses the feelings of his kin. They feel uncomfortable with his death of "foul subtraction". Also there are others that do not like the child's unnecessary death. These are the people who did not ever meet or see the child but realize what kind of a tragedy this death was. Ransom makes a statement at the end of the first paragraph "Nor some of the world of outer dark, like me". This is a strong statement for the simple fact that this shows how much of the town, city, world is affected by one child's death.
This next paragraph is by far the harshest. The voices are that of the town's people who say this child was helpless. His death was felt as the only alternative to some. He was called "a black cloud full of storms too hot for keeping". Just as in Mother Nature the people felt that this child could not be controlled. The following line however is one of the most emotional. It talks of how his mother still weeps for her dead child. This is a reaction of any mother who cared for her child. These people have to see her weep, yet still talk of a horrid child. This is an unjustifiable act on their part.
The paragraph that is probably the most sincere is that of the elder men. They speak of the child's death hurting their hearts. They realize that this child should not have been taken away like he was. A chance at life was all he needed, and was not granted this. However they can't change what has happened and must live with this pain in their heart.
The last paragraph makes an understanding of the mothers continual weeping. This was the mother's last child. The poem states "this was the old tree's late branch", this meaning the other children (branches) have already been ripped away. The mother is left with no one. The town's people who realize this tragedy should not be so easy to judge this child's death.
Ransom hopefully has but something into people's heads about a person's death. Whether that person be old, young, mean, or nice they should understand the circumstances of the death. Also people should not be so quick to judge. It is best said by "what you might throw away, is another man's treasure". No one will ever know when their time is called, or what people might say of them. This was a realistic look at death from the living.