Death, A Theme In Emily Dickinson And Walt Whitman´S Poetry

1450 words - 6 pages

Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson’s poetry is very different; however death seems to be a familiar topic amongst both poets. Opposites attract, and you could say the same for Whitman and Dickinson because though they have different writing styles both repeatedly write about death. Once more, although both Whitman and Dickinson have many different feelings about death, they also share many similar feelings about it as well. Although Walt Whitman's poetry is rather long and quite simple and Emily Dickinson's are often short and complex, the theme of death strongly ties their works together.
To begin with, both Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson spoke about not only a person dying, but the people who were left to live through that person’s death. Whitman aims his attention on the people who have to suffer through the death of a loved one and says that the one who dies no longer has to suffer. “Sickly white in the face, and dull in the head, very faint/ By the jamb of a door leans […]/ But the mother needs to be better; / She, with thin form, presently drest in black; / By day her meals untouch'd-then at night fitfully sleeping, often waking, / In the midnight waking, weeping, longing with one deep longing, / O that she might withdraw unnoticed-silent from life, escape and withdraw, / To follow, to seek, to be with her dear dead son” (Whitman “Come Up From the Fields Father” Lines 24-25, 32-37). At first the thought of the son being dead is kind of shocking to the mother, but as time passes and the fact that her son is dead starts to sink in, the mother becomes very unhealthy. She changes in every way in that she goes from a happy, normal mother and wife, to this depressed woman who only wears black and hopes to die soon so she can be with her beloved son. Also, Emily Dickinson speaks briefly, yet strongly about the people anticipating her death in “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died”. Dickinson writes, “The eyes beside had wrung them dry” (Dickinson “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died” Line 5), and this shows that the people are not crying anymore, they are just suffering and they are exhausted from their crying and their misery and sadness caused by her death which is soon to come. Both Whitman and Dickinson express death through the suffering of the one’s left behind.
In addition, both Whitman and Dickinson are aware that death is inevitable and are prepared for it to happen, however they do have different feelings toward dying. To start, yes Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson acknowledge that everyone is going to die one day and they both accept that there is nothing that they can do about it. In “Song of Myself” Whitman undeviatingly accosts Death and says “And as to you Death, and you bitter hug of mortality, it is idle to try to alarm me” (Whitman “Song of Myself” Line 1286). Walt Whitman acknowledges that death stops for nobody and that he can do nothing to prevent his dying, however he is not afraid. In the same way, Dickinson follows death onto his...

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