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Walt Whitman

Uploaded by Bosindy2 on Dec 09, 2001

Walt Whitman wrote many poems that contained very strong political and economical aspects, which gave an insight into his own beliefs and values. Among some of the various other themes he wrote about, Whitman frequently used the Civil War as a foundation for his works. Another theme that was presented, which in some way is incorporated with the previous theme, was that of social unity and the importance of each individual.

His ideas about the Civil war come about in many of his poems. In "Beat! Beat! Drums!" he tells how war disturbs the lives of everyone, with no remorse. The Civil Wwar was on the minds and hearts of every American at the time, and no one was left unaffected by its repercussions. Whitman relays this by using the drums as a symbol for the raging war. He says in the poem, "So strong you thump O terrible drums---so loud you bugles blow." This line gives us an understanding of his feelings of the war. I believe he thought it was a bad thing that we had to fight amongst our brothers, but that it was necessary in order to rid our country of the plague of slavery. Whitman, an abolitionist, had strong opposition to slavery and saw the Civil War as a last resort that was a long time coming.

Continuing with this theme of the Civil War, Whitman wrote the short poem, "This Dust Was Once the Man." In this poem, Whitman pays homage to arguably one of the greatest leaders this country has ever seen, Abraham Lincoln. He credits Lincoln with the salvation of the Union. It seems as if this poem is Whitman reflecting back on Lincoln's life, writing it at the scene of his grave, and just remembering the greatness he possessed. This was not the last time he would pay tribute to the fallen leader.

In "O Captain, My Captain," Whitman refers to Lincoln again, this time as a captain figure. He tells about how the brave captain had won the battle and brought the ship back home safely, but his life was taken and he lay dead on the ship. The ship in the poem represents the Confederacy, and how President Lincoln had worked so hard to bring them back to the Union, bringing America back together. Whitman puts himself in the place of a sailor, mourning the loss of his fearless leader. The...

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Uploaded by:   Bosindy2

Date:   12/09/2001

Category:   Poetry

Length:   3 pages (616 words)

Views:   2221

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