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Walt Whitman Life And Poetry Essay

2041 words - 8 pages

Rebecca GreenMs. HughesHonors English II27 / 03 / 2014Walt Whitman: One of America's Greatest PoetsThe poet I chose to research was Walt Whitman, one of America's greatest poets. The three poems I chose were "Beat! Beat! Drums!" "O'Captain! My Captain!", and "A Noiseless Patient Spider." I decided to do these three poems mostly because they are three of his better known and more popular poems. Also, two of them have references to the civil war. The poems by Walt Whitman that I chose to analyze are "Beat! Beat! Drums!", "O'Captain! My Captain!", and "A Noiseless Patient Spider."Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819, in Long Island, New York. Whitman lived during the Transcendentalist Era and the civil war. He attended District School One, but was not a good student. Whitman's father was a carpenter and taught him carpentry when he was young. At age eleven, he worked as an errand boy in a Brooklyn law firm. He got to deliver messages to Aaron Burr on occasion. After reading some of Sir Walter Scotts work, Whitman said that it was the first time that poetry had actually meant something to him. His family constantly moved back and forth between Long Island and Brooklyn.Whitman never married. Whitman held and lost many writing and editorial jobs for many different newspapers. He also wrote, edited, and rewrote his most famous work Leaves of Grass. He didn't earn any awards for his work. During his time, a lot of his work was seen as inappropriate. But Whitman changed poetry as they knew it. Before him everybody followed iambic meter; whereas Whitman used free verse. He also influenced Langston Hughes. He died on March 26, 1892."O' Captain! My Captain!"The speaker is saying that their difficult fight is over and that they won what they had set out for. As the crowd watches them approach, they scream and cheer for the victory. He's calling out to his captain to not give up and to hold on. But the blood keeps flowing out until he's lying dead. He's calling to his dead captain begging him to wake up and come back. He tells the captain how everybody is cheering and celebrating for him on the shores. The speaker is holding the captain. He's holding his head on his arm. He can't accept that he is dead and hopes that this is just a dream. Finally he realizes that his captain is dead and he can't come back. They had returned from their trip safely and victorious. The speaker wants everybody in the country to stop celebrating. Their captain had died. (Shmoop University, 2014)O' Captain! My Captain! The title is significant because it shows his cry toward someone important. Whitman uses many connotations in this poem. He uses a rhyme scheme, where he rhymes the first two lines of each of the three stanzas and the last and third to last lines of each stanza. Throughout the poem Whitman uses repetition. He repeats O' Captain! My Captain! In the first line of the first two stanzas as if he was calling out to him. He repeats "fallen cold and dead" at the end of each...

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