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"When Lilacs Last In The Door Yard Bloom'd

556 words - 2 pages

"When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" is one of Walt Whitman's best known and most popular poems about Abraham Lincoln. In "Lilacs", Whitman portrayed himself as a representative of the American public's chief mourner of Lincoln's assassination. Within this poem he could embody and abate the sorrow felt by millions of citizens in the North and South(Marinacci 240)."Lilacs" is a free-flowing poem in which three images interweave with meditations on death and the war. The poem operates on several different levels that continually overlap.Whitman's attempt to reconcile himself to Lincoln's death becomes a reconciliation to death on a personal, national, and global level. Lincoln's death becomes an occasion for the poet to try and heal wounds and to grieve publicly while trying to make poetic and historic sense out of the seeming waste of the Civil War (Erkkila 234).Even though Lincoln was shot on Good Friday, Whitman does not attempt to compare the obvious symbolism of Christ and Lincoln. He does give the poem religious suggestions by linking Lincoln's death with spring and the trinities formed of the senses and sounds, lines and images woven throughout the poem(Erkkila 229).Whitman refuses to use Lincoln's name in the poem or any other poem he writes about Lincoln. He relied on the fact that the nation was familiar with the events surrounding his death and recognized the subject of his work. He used instead, the imagery of the western star to represent Lincoln. The western star (which was actually the planet Venus) in its largest configuration is a star of the American Union. The star...

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