Any Literature Buffs here? How much do you know about Walt Whitman or Emily Dickinson?

I’ll ask Two questions. Just answer one if you know. I love Literature and have been studying Walt Whitman, Dickinson and Rousseau..

1. Can you explain why Walt Whitman is called the DEMOCRATIC POET?

2. Can you discuss the themes in Emily Dickinson’s poetry.

1 thought on “Any Literature Buffs here? How much do you know about Walt Whitman or Emily Dickinson?

  1. 1. Song of Myself:
    Section 15 is a good illustration of the ways Whitman’s catalog technique serves as a democratizing device, inscribing the pattern of many and one. By basing his verse in the single, end-stopped line at the same time that he fuses this line–through various linking devices–with the larger structure of the whole, Whitman weaves an overall pattern of unity in diversity. This pattern of many and one–the e pluribus unum that was the revolutionary seal of the American republic–is the overarching figure of Leaves of Grass.

    I present “Song of Myself” as a drama of democratic identity in which the poet seeks to balance and reconcile major conflicts in the body politic of America: the conflict between “separate person” and “en masse,” individualism and equality, liberty and union, the South and the North, the farm and the city, labor and capital, black and white, female and male, religion and science. One can discuss any of the individual sections of the poem in relation to this conflict. Moments of particular conflict and crisis occur in sections 28 and 38. I ask the students to discuss the specific nature of the crisis in each of these sections. Both involve a loss of balance.

    2. Emily Dickinson had many tragic life experiences that influenced her poetry and caused her to commonly write upon the theme of death. “Dickinson’s life was marked by a succession of deaths,” (p. 2502) which caused her to spend the later half of her life in sorrow. She experienced many tragic deaths of people close to her, thus influencing her writing as means of expression and becoming a recurrent theme in her poetry. Although Emily Dickinson wrote about death, she often times wrote about it in peculiar ways such as death as being eternal and continuous but also immortality as a state of consciousness in an eternal present and can be seen in her poems #712, “Because I could not stop for Death—“, #465, “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—“, and #449, “I died for Beauty—but was scarce”.

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