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Seamus Heaney’s Storm On The Island And Walt Whitman’s Patrolling

1050 words - 4 pages

Seamus Heaney’s Storm on the Island and Walt Whitman’s Patrolling
Barnegat which were written in 1966 and 1856 respectively are two
classical poems describing vividly

How the poems I have studied explored nature and its effect.

Seamus Heaney’s Storm on the Island and Walt Whitman’s Patrolling
Barnegat which were written in 1966 and 1856 respectively are two
classical poems describing vividly the horror and insecurity
experienced by human’s during a wild storm. Storm on the Island and
Patrolling Barnegat have many similarities and differences, the
similarities reside around each writer’s description of a storm but
the differences are mainly due to the writer’s on personal attitude
and approach to a storm and how they apply it to their writing.

At the beginning of Heaney’s Storm on the Island he clearly highlights
that they have prepared for a storm

“We are prepared; we build our houses squat”,

Heaney also makes it clear that there is no company or shelter on the
island

“Nor are there trees that might prove company when it blows full
blast”.

Throughout the poem Heaney is describing the elements that have to be
faced during a storm, he describes the wind, the sea and the fear they
produce. In contrast to Heaney, Whitman begins his poem with a prompt
and vivid description of the storm and his dramatic account of a storm
continues throughout the poem.

Whitman’s portrayal of the storm is somewhat different to that of
Heaney as it is more sophisticated and complex,

“Steady the roar of the gale, with incessant undertone muttering”.

The attitude of each poet towards the poem plays a prominent role in
the style and rhythm of each poem. In brief it is quite clear that
Heaney’s attitude to a storm is one of complete wonder and awe and
acknowledgement at the sheer power of nature,

“Spits like a tame cat turned savage”, this quote is very indicative
of that. In contrast to this Whitman’s outlook to a storm is one that
suggests that he wants the reader to be aware of the threatening and
aggressive nature of a storm,

“Waves, air, midnight, their savagest trinity lashing”. In my opinion
this line sums up everything about Whitman’s attitude to the storm. In
spite of the fact that each poet’s feelings towards the storm are
primarily different there are subtle similarities in their thoughts
about the storm. From a personal standpoint I believe that there is a
underlying feeling that both poets share, this is that they both
accept and acknowledge that man cannot combat the power of nature and
that all humans are condemned to the fact that all we can do is find
the best means to adapt to natures elements.

With regards to the structure of each poem, Whitman’s Patrolling
Barnegat is a sonnet despite the fact that it doesn’t abide by all the
rules associated with sonnets. Heaney’s Storm on the Island is a blank
verse poem with 10 syllables in each line.

The tone and rhythm of each poem reflects...

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