Analysis of “A Noiseless Patient Spider” and “I am Nobody! Who are you”

Categories: Emily Dickinson

A Noiseless Patient Spider and I am Nobody! Who are you? are written by Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson respectively. Throughout the two poems, the authors are trying to focus on their self-identity in society. Both of the poems were published in 1891. There are several strengths, weaknesses, and themes in the two poems.

The themes in A noiseless patient spider are passion and efforts. According to “Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding, it launched forth filament, filament, and filament, out of itself.

” (Whitman, line 3,4) It tells the readers that working enthusiastically and constantly at their current position would help them get closer to their dreams. Also, from “Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them.” (Whitman, line 8). We can realize that Whitman wants people not to give up their life even though they are facing a crisis and cannot overcome it.

There are several strengths included in the poem.

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“A noiseless patient spider, I mark’d where on a promontory it stood isolated.

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” (Whitman, line 1,2). The spider refers to a person who is helpless and do not have a hope to live. By using this quote, the author tries to deliver a valuable message to the readers that we must not give up our hope and we should put our best efforts to achieve what we really want. This lesson will help people a lot for who lost their job or the students who cannot get good grades on their academic performance.

The spider and the web are another strength parts in the poem. These are objects of metaphor in the poem. For example, the spider might also refer to the author who has a social crisis and the spider web is a thing that the author is relying on and it makes him feel comfortable. The author wants to make a connection with the world in order to be safe from an unstable situation. He also keeps making the web that can make the connection to the world to make it meaningful. Also, keep living his own world by developing his inner world. The last strength is imagery, “noiseless”. as people can imagine something silent, helpless, and hopeless. Then, people would be able to make a connection to the poem with their world and understand it.

There are two weaknesses in the poem. “A noiseless patient spider” and “Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space.” (Whitman, line 1, 7). We can notice the first weakness from these quotes. The speaker seemed to have a dark moment in his life and is depressed not facing any moments of happiness. Therefore, it makes the readers look back on our life in a negative way. The second weakness is that the tone of the poem which is very dark, and it does not show clearly why the author is depressed and sad. For examples, is he sad because he lost his family? Or because he lost his job and hope? One thing that poems give benefits to the readers is that by reading pomes, they can sympathize with the author and share their emotions. However, as we cannot know the specific reason why he is depressed, it is hard to understand his emotions. It just gave attention to the readers he is sad and does not have any hope to live a life. Also, do not give up and keep trying.

Another poem is called I’m nobody! Who are you? The themes in this poem are loneliness, insecurity, and one’s value. “I’m nobody! Who are you?” (Dickinson, line 1,2). People who read this poem notice that the author feels lonely from being nobody and catch that the main point in this poem would be about how is it like being nobody. “They’d banish us, you know” (Dickinson, line 5). The author feels angry that society had ignored her and did not admit her as a citizen in the United States. She thinks that she does not get protected from society so that she feels lonely. “How dreary to be somebody!” (Dickinson, line 6). She wants to think that being somebody is not good and being nobody is better than being somebody in society. Now, she gets tired of thinking about her position in society and is okay with being isolated from society. The speaker does not care about a desire to belong to an organization and tries to be calm with the present. We think that she might want to concentrate on her own identity and value.

The first strength of the poem is that it gives a valuable and didactic lesson to people. “How dreary to be somebody!”, “How public, like a frog”, and “To tell you name the livelong day” (Dickinson, line 6,7,8). From these, it can give hope to the people who lost their jobs that being nobody is also okay, and it is more important to protect your own identity and respect yourself. She tries to make a bond relationship with each other and wants to share her emotions with the readers.

A quote that refers to another strength in the poem is “To an admiring bog!” (Dickinson, line 9). This refers to the people who are famous in society and government corruption. Dickinson is trying to mock and makes fun of them, and do not want to belong to society anymore. Therefore, the overall tones of the poem are humorous and satire.

The last strength of the poem is that it makes the readers have time to think about what are good and bad things for being somebody and nobody. from “I’m nobody! Who are you?” (Dickinson, line 1,2). First, the benefits of being somebody are we can have a social status and do not feel lonely. However, the bad things are we must have a responsibility and get pressure from society and our privacy gets bothered. On the other hand, a good thing for being nobody is we get freedom from people and organizations. But, we feel alone and sad that we do not get involved in society.

The weakness of this poem is that it does not give any worth message to the readers but just expresses the speaker’s feeling to the readers and wants to console herself to share her emotions with people. It is true that we gain some messages throughout what the author talks about her situation as we can tell from the above; however, her selfishness is remarkable that only trying to tell about herself.

Another weakness is that there are two phrases which were not clarified. First, “They’d banish us, you know.” (Dickinson, line 5). We do not know what the word “they” refers to. For examples, society? Or job? The second is exclamation marks in the poem. When we first read the poem, people can get confused with the exclamation marks whether she is happy to be nobody or pretending to be okay with being nobody but desires to be somebody in society. It would have been better if she clarified with the exclamation marks how does she really feel with her situation.

In conclusion, there are a lot of themes, strengths, and weaknesses in the two poems, A Noiseless Patient Spider and I’m nobody! Who are you?. These contain many meaningful lessons and we realized several themes, strengths, and weaknesses. Also, we could catch what the authors are trying to say to the readers throughout their poems. The poems were containing a lot of insightful and meaningful phrases to give valuable messages to people how they should live their life as a worthy person and endure their current life to achieve accomplishments. It revealed the importance of the tones and how it can make people feel the atmosphere of the poems.

Updated: Feb 28, 2024
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Analysis of “A Noiseless Patient Spider” and “I am Nobody! Who are you”. (2024, Feb 28). Retrieved from

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