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Shaping American Poetry Essay

1240 words - 5 pages

It’s easy to compare two great poets of the late 19th Century. Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman were both authors and had a unique writing style. Although the two have some of the same views on things, their writing styles were drastically different. When put plainly, Whitman likes to use free verse, while Dickinson on the other hand prefers regular rhymes, and complex slants. Dickinson’s poems are also considerably shorter in contrast to Whitman’s. Again, when it comes to word choice, Dickinson has a more plain style, where one could compare Whitman’s to a flashier, bolder word selection. Both poets though, would be apart of the Romantic Era of writing. They also heavily believe in individualism and had some of the same thoughts on death. The two believed in an afterlife, and that said afterlife was a better place. Like many writers at the time, they also took time to compare nature to God, and writing about their findings.

The two can be blamed for the shaping of American poetry. You can clearly see the differences in American poetry and British poetry shortly after their writings. They were very inspiring to writers all across America, and wrote about bold topics. Dickinson questioned God in an unheard of way, and Whitman wrote that you don’t have to be a church to be with God. Both were very inspired by nature, and made connections to it in their poetry. When it comes to style, the two obviously clashed, but they also clashed on some other views too. Whitman liked to use bible quotes or references in his poetry where as Dickinson almost didn’t believe in the church, and went about worshiping in her own way. The two were very different poets, but with that said, they helped shape poetry in America still to this day.

While works by Whitman and Dickinson are different, there can be similarities found between them. Subject matter and themes are both similar between the two. They both belie in life after death, and the thought that if you are remembered, you are never really dead. Each also like the idea that the Earth is living and humans are a huge part of it. Imagery is huge in both authors’ works. Where Whitman is detailed, and bold, the reader can get a clear picture, Dickinson uses personification to bring life to her works. When comparing the imagery found in both works, and the themes of the twos poems, you can start to see similarities. When even just looking at two poems, you can automatically see some differences, and some similarities. The messages presented, and the way they are presented is only one way the two are similar, where as the style and types of poems differ. Both authors made significant contributions and certainly helped with poetry we still see today.

Death, life, God and nature are huge parts of both authors’ poems. But when reading the two, you can definitely feel a difference. Loud, big, bold are just three adjectives used to describe Whitman frequently. The symbol of grass in his poem is just outstanding, how...

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