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The Rhythm Of The War Drums

978 words - 4 pages

War has far-reaching, long-lasting, multi-faceted effects on those involved, and even those who are not. War does not discriminate, war disrupts everyone, and war is chaos. “Beat! Beat! Drums!” by Walt Whitman is a dramatic poetic response to the wide-ranging impact of war in every day life. The poem is primarily divided into three sections in which the effect of the war drums in the poem range from disturbing the “peaceful farmers” of the country to out roaring the traffic of the city, the “sleepers”, the “talkers”, the “singers” and the “lawyers”. The poem reflects the effect of the war in the din of the drums and bugles. The sound scatters the church congregations and disrupts the focus of students in schools. The poem uses meter in the rhythm of a war drum, commanding war diction and repetition that leaves a lasting impression of the magnitude of war’s disturbance in relationships, work, and happiness.
In the first stanza, the speaker uses sound devices and imagery to show how the racket of war permeates even the most sacred places such as churches and weddings. Just as a war drum is versatile and has plenty of variation, so are the variations of places and people it effects. The imagery of the drums and bugles is conveyed in the diction “ruthless”, “fierce”, and “shrill” connoting the presence of war. The sound devices of the drums and bugles are seen throughout this stanza in the diction: “beat”, “blow”, “whirr”, and “pound”. The same phrase “Beat! beat! drums!-blow! bugles! blow!” starts each stanza throughout the poem to show how the din is constant. The speaker compares the racket of bugles and drums in a simile “burst like a ruthless force” to show how the noise is disparaging all peace from the atmosphere when the drums scatter the church congregation and disrupt the studying scholar. The drums “Leave not the bridegroom quiet” “Nor the peaceful farmer any peace” to illustrate that there is a need for all those who are able to do so, to cease less important actions, and fight this war at hand. The significance of the interruption to the bridegroom, the farmer, and the scattering of the church congregation connect to the story of the poem because all of these men are forced to leave their homes to go to war.
The speaker then uses repetition of the phrase “Beat! beat! drums!-blow! bugles! blow!” to transition to the war’s impact in the city, from disrupting sleep to every day business matters. Examining the syntax in line 12, “Would the talkers be talking? Would the singer attempt to sing?” the alliteration of t’s creates a rat-a-tat-tat sound of the drums. The rhythm of war drums is also seen in the last line of each stanza. The lines have a powerful and rolling rhythm, rhyming in a way that is...

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