An empty pew in the fifteenth stanza is symbolic of the emptiness that follows the death of a close person. This death due to illness or old age cuts life short. This emptiness of a pew is also symbolic of a church-goer. They had their usual sitting place in the house of worship, and upon their death, that space is still left for them. It is as though the departed will occupy it some other time. Most people still want to take departure as short-lived.This empty pew also symbolizes the failure of people to face life as it is and embrace change. They stick to the past and fail to acknowledge the realities of life, whether positive or painful. The speaker shows no feelings throughout this period of mourning. There is no indication of pity, sympathy or empathy. Every detail is given with an honest statement of reality. The rhyme scheme in each stanza creates a flow within the poem. Each verse follows this rhyme scheme as an indication of a full phase of life. The end rhyme suits the description of the speaker’s purpose, which is to drive home the point of life’s linearity. The poem creates contradictions in its inviting nature. There is a paradox in the welcome invites given by the speaker. The invites call upon the reader to start off in a life that is full of variations. One is invited to the marriage, and eventually to a divorce that fulfills the normal way of life. Another is invited to live through birth, but their lives get cut short by illnesses and misfortunes. The speaker also attracts people to the world of earning an income, regardless of the fact that they will have to pay rent and hospital bills, among other expenses of life. Life is exciting and cannot be avoided. There is neither education nor an outline to it. The step-by-step stages of birth, growth, development, maturity, prosperity, old-age and death from an unavoidable routine. One has to follow the same process as others. It is a similar process for everyone, and the weird thing is that no one can change this standard route of life even with the knowledge that it leads to death.
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