In James Patrick Kinney’s poem The cold within, what does the poet mean by “They died from the cold within”? Or, Justify the title of the poem.
By the phrase “the cold within” the poet means the coldness of the hearts — the lack of warm human spirits of the six persons who gathered around the dying fire in that winter evening. Though all of them possessed a log of wood, none agreed to give it to the fire to keep it burning and keep them warm. This was because of the discriminatory attitude they had against each other over petty things like class, caste, colour, religious faith or ethnicity. In the end, they were found frozen to death with their logs held in their still hands. Therefore the poet commented that the death was not due to the cold outside, it was the cold within their hearts that killed them.
This is a great way to convey the message of harmony in the society and the way Kinney sums up the poem is amazing. The title of the poem, ‘The Cold Within’ is suggestive of the central theme or message of the poem and thus is just and apt.
They died because of the hatred they had amongst themselves, they wouldn’t have died if they helped each other and gave the fire a boost. They froze and died not because of the chilled weather outside but because of the cruelty they had for each other inside.