The definition of poetry, instead of becoming more selective and exact, has become a much more broad and open minded classification of literature. From It's beginning's in romanticist Puritan literature, to its more modernistic function on present society, poetry has become a way to blend the psychological side of human intellect, with the emotional side of human intuition and curiosity. Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman were two early poets from the late 19th century. Unlike Walt, Emily liked to write at home, she was a more secluded author who enjoyed to look out the window for inspiration. Walt on the other hand loved to travel. He found inspiration through nature and the diversity of thriving cultures throughout the world. Although these writers found inspiration from two different methods, their poems have distinct similarities in theme, images, and main ideas.
Take Walt's work “O Captain, My Captain” for example, when he says, “My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will” (Whitman, line 14). In this poem, he expresses his feelings on the result of Abraham Lincoln's death. Death seems to be a common in late 19th century poetry, most likely because of its “cause and effect” relationship with sadness. Dickinson also likes to write about the effect of death on the human psyche. This can be seen in her poem, “Because I could not stop for Death.” In the first stanza of her poem, she says, “Because I could not stop for Death – He kindly stopped for me– “ (Dickinson, line 1). This quote shows how Emily uses personification to show death as a solemn human being who cannot be persuaded. Like Whitman, Emily sees no true positive outcome from death. Both poets illustrate death as the final solution. Also, how death immediately brings on a sense of sadness the leaves an imprint on the human psyche.
As well as having similar main ideas, both Emily and Walt illustrate the importance of individualism in society. Take Walt's “I Hear America Singing” for example, when he states, “Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,” (Whitman, line 12). Here Whitman is speaking on how important it is for everyone to have their own individual voice. Also, Whitman doesn't speak for just the upper class. He uses jobs such as carpenter, plumber, and shoemaker. Jobs for people who really don't have the best things, or make the most money. Here Whitman speaks on expanding the horizon for society, giving everyone the same power, and equal voice. Not just the wealthy or more significant figures of society. Emily also writes on this idea in her poem “Success is Counted Sweetest”. It is in this poem she says, “Success is counted sweetest By those who ne'er succeed” (Dickinson, line 1). Here Dickinson is echoing the idea of having individualism in society. Their needs to be an equal distribution of power among the civilians so that the civilization will flourish. The lack of...