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In the poem, the narrator is driven around in a horse-drawn carriage to several places, including a schoolyard, a field of wheat, and a house sunken in the ground. However, a deeper reading of the poem reveals the poet’s uncertainty of whether there is or is not an afterlife. The events she describes are of course fictional and unknowable, but the multiple changes in pacing of the poem, as well as the changing nature of the carriage (stationary and in motion), indicates the poet’s unwillingness to make a decision one way or another.
At several times in the poem, Dickenson changes the pace of the reading.
Upon the death of the narrator, even though she could not stop for Death, the stanza features end-stops after each line – the reader has to stop multiple times for Death. However, in the last stanza, she allows the reader to run through it very quickly, appropriate since the stanza details the quick pace of the centuries.
This conflict is indicative of indecision. Death is traditionally described in two ways, depending on the religious affinity of the speaker – there is an afterlife or there is not one. Upon the time of writing this poem, Dickenson had just lost a valued friend, and was likely dealing with this conflict herself.
At the start of the poem, she uses the word “Immortality,” which would likely imply that there is an afterlife, and the spirit of her friend is living on there. However, the fifth stanza of the poem describes a house buried in the ground, one that is certainly inaccessible to anyone trying to enter.
In the next stanza, she uses “Eternity” instead of “Immortality. ” Combined with the buried house, this word choice has a very different connotation. If the afterlife, whether it be Heaven or Hell, is thought to be that house, and Dickenson has been waiting outside for an eternity, would it not imply that no one can get in?
That the soul has no place to go after dying? Of course, the fact that the poet can relate this information after being dead implies that spirits are capable of reporting back to the living in one way or another, giving them a sense of agency that would not have if they were just dead in the ground. The poet continues to feel temperature, as she notes in the fourth stanza. However, the poet seems to have no other human feelings aside from that. She has neither leisure nor labor, giving her a sense of indifference about the whole experience.
It is hard to believe that, after being alive for some amount of years, at least long enough to have such a grasp over the English language, that anyone would have no feelings about being in the company of death one way or the other if they still managed to hold onto any shred of humanity. It is impossible to identify Dickenson’s feelings about death based on this poem, besides that she is still uncertain. Reply 2. [pic]John Yi says: July 13, 2011 at 5:18 pm 20 Walt Whitman Walt Whitman shares his view on the question concerning the present life of individuals in his poem part 20 of “Song of Myself”.
His first stanza begins with the query pertaining to the mechanics of the human body, “Who goes there? … How is it I extract strength from the beef I eat? ” (389-390). Whitman ponders deeply on why food is a necessity for man to function. As the poem breaks into the second stanza the narrator questions himself more, “What is a man anyhow? What am I? what are you? ” (391). The curiosity derived from the narrator, overall, leads to the philosophical and most fundamental question of all, what is the meaning of life or why do we exist? The line also indicates certain doubtfulness; if we truly do exist in the world.
The third stanza reveals the answer to the numerous questions offset by the narrator, “All I mark as my own you shall offset it with your own” (392). The narrator believes the only way to discover the answer is to find it through oneself; a conventional idea of transcendentalism. Apart from the philosophical debate, the poet redirects himself to the subject of society itself or how one lives life in it. The narrator illustrates the months as vacuums (395). Metaphorically, the vacuum the poet speaks of is the consistent pattern enveloping one’s life.
He voices it in a negative tone, almost wishing the readers to break away from the repetitious pattern; the entire life of man is based upon a pattern and so are the months and days, never changing and always ending on January during the month or Saturday during the week. People tend to do the same thing every day – get up from bed, eat breakfast, go to work, eat lunch, get off work, eat dinner, and go to sleep –it never seems to change. Therefore, the narrator believes inconsistency is a key component to live life, to be diverse in how man lives.
Conformity becomes an issue for the poet, “conformity goes to the fourth-remov’d,/I wear my hat as I please indoors or out” (396-397). Conformity or following the suit of another’s life is discouraged by the poet and free will is emphasized through the narrator’s choice of wearing a hat. The poet reinforces this idea by asking multiple questions pertaining to religion, “Why should I pray? Why should I venerate and be ceremonious? ”(398). Thus, to be accepted and to live a proper life is not to conform, but to be an individual who stands out from the rest.
In the tenth stanza, the transcendental perspective of immortality is introduced. The poet acknowledges the non-existence of death, “I know I am deathless” (406). He does not relate it to the decaying shell or body man has acquired, but the soul. A stronger example is shown when he acknowledges the fact that no one would truly understand the soul and how it does not comply with the laws of human nature (410-411). In his last stanza, the authors view of the afterlife is illustrated, “My foothold is tenon’d and mortis’d in granite” (419).
He uses granite as a reference to nature and portrays himself a part of the natural world once his soul leaves the body. The narrator closes his poem with an assurance of his self-existence. A very important reasoning is given in the twelfth stanza, “I exist as I am, that is enough” (413). This is similar to Rene Descartes philosophical term, Cogito Ergo Sum- I think, therefore I am (Wiki). The poet is assured that his existence is not a deception because he is “I” or the one who thinks. Conclusively, the ideas and philosophical reasoning in the poem relates directly to transcendentalism itself.
Whitman reiterates the meaning of life. He questions what it truly is to be alive and reassures us that the life an individual lives should not be to conform and live in a life of consistent pattern. Finally, the rejection of death is portrayed and the belief of an afterlife is acknowledged by the author himself. Works Cited http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Cogito_ergo_sum Reply 3. [pic]bentedjoe says: July 13, 2011 at 8:39 pm Emily Dickinson was quiet fond of writing about death in her poetry, and in this particular piece the poem as a whole represents the appreciation of life.
Dickinson’s poem deals with how death isn’t something to fear, though a person should fear the neglecting of life that they embody themselves with and not realizing all the precious and priceless people, environments and moments of their lives. The first stanza exemplifies how the subject of the poem is beginning to acknowledge her decisions. Dickinson starts her poem with “Because I could not stop for death – He kindly stopped for me – The Carriage held but just Ourselves – And Immorality. ” The dashes in between sentences indicate a sense of grief towards self, because the narrator admits that they were too busy to take notice of death.
The dash in between Death and He indicates the subjects acceptance that death has arrived. Death is not represented as evil but as a guest who is going to help this person in need of help. Death went out of his way to pick up the narrator. In the carriage readers understand that the only two characters riding, that being death and the subject of the poem. The dash in between ourselves and Immorality represents that subjects acknowledgment that ride in the carriage is specifically for the subject. The first stanza ends with the word immorality, since the subject understands that death is going to reveal their evil deeds.
The following stanza indicates that Death drove slowly and that he knew no haste and that this act was done by politeness for the subjects own well-being. The second stanza doesn’t end with a period but instead Dickinson chooses to use a dash. The dash empowers the poem as a whole because it sets the setting for what she will write next. Ending with a dash indicates that the subject of the poem is aware that Death is being polite by not rushing the process of what he is going to expose the subject to, thus creating the feeling of guilt with the dash.
The use of a period of would have just ended the second stanza and wouldn’t have given the poem strength or introduced to what Dickinson writes next. The third stanza begins the subject’s journey of realization and of their immoralities, which they have not paid attention to until death was kindly enough to demonstrate. The third stanza uses positive, beautiful and innocent examples of life. The use of children, fields and the setting sun manifest the beauty of life and how this person paid attention while they were alive.
The fifth stanza uses the description of a disintegrating home that has been left alone. The home can represent the subject’s life, where they paid no attention to enjoy the beauties of life. The last stanza is last the piece to the poems puzzle, where the subject finally becomes conscious and is fed up with Death journey. The use of the word century indicates that their journey has shown the subject many things in a short amount of time. Dickinson chooses to end her poem with the subject contemplating the existence of the horses, the horses representing her journey as a whole.
Unfortunately for the subject the journey was real and the horses are faced toward eternity; meaning that the subject will have an eternity of life to think about all of their immoralities. Reply 4. [pic]a. mora says: July 13, 2011 at 9:44 pm Emily Dickinson’s writings are mysteries wrapped in enigmas; cliche as that may sound, that statement has some validity to it. Dickinson’s writings are difficult, they challenge the reader and yet each poem is so obscure that it is open to several different possibilities. Dickinson’s writing is so distinct that every aspect of one of her poems can be analyzed.
In “I died for Beauty – but was scarce” Dickinson presents to the reader the close relationship between Truth and Beauty; not only are truth and beauty examined individually it is also suggested that they are equals. Beauty and truth can be seen as equals in this poem because of the lines “And I – for Truth – Themself are One- /We Bretheren, are”, He said – ” (7-8). In the lines leading up to this quote the speaker explains that she has died for beauty and the man buried next to her had died for truth. Since he says “themselves are One” meaning that Beauty and Truth are one, thus why he says they are bretheren.
By saying they are bretheren it is as if they were family of born of the same thing. In comparing truth and beauty and essentially placing them at the same level Dickinson challenge the reader to think about what each truly is. In a way they are same – a person can become so involved in truth and the quest for truth just as easily as someone can be consumed with beauty and the desire to achieve a state of perfection. It is easy to get lost in both, perhaps that is how both speakers came to be in their tombs. It is also interesting to note the usage of scarce.
The speaker uses it in regards to her death for Beauty, but what does that really mean? Perhaps that Beauty was not enough, if this is the case, and taking into account the comparison between beauty and truth also made in the poem, it is fair to also infer that perhaps truth is not enough either. What is enough them to die for since both of the speakers have died for their respective causes? Dickinson forces her reader to examine that question closely. It can be that Dickinson is criticizing what people give importance to in their lives.
Or even a defense, for the right to stand up for whatever one’s cause may be. At the end of the poem the speaker states that they would both met until the essentially they are covered by the moss. Eventually these two people and forgotten because the moss covers their tombs, so was their cause even worth it? This idea poses the question of whether anything is truly worth it. In the end is the truth more important, as most might say, or beauty. If is it beauty is is just superficial or beauty is nature, inner beauty even?
It’s all subjective and it can all be left to reader as is the case in so many of Dickinson’s poems. Reply 5. [pic]Jamie Kujovich says: July 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm Walt Whitman: Using “Song of Myself” as a Tool to Understand Transcendentalist Thought Transcendentalist teachings and practices were important for many of the American literary artists that sought to create a new American identity through literary means. Two main tenets of Transcendentalism maintain the importance of the individual and the notion that everything is interconnected, which is to say that there is a oneness of being.
Walt Whitman is one author that applied Transcendentalist thought in his works as a method of constructing the new American identity. Through a close reading of section seventeen in Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself,” looking primarily at Whitman’s incorporation of end-stopped lines, anaphora, and repetition, Whitman interprets Transcendentalist thought to solidify the notion of the oneness of being, which connects the singularity of the individual with an overall higher collective. In looking at the way the lines in section seventeen are organized, it becomes apparent that Walt Whitman relies heavily on end-stopped lines.
In the case of this poem, the end-stopped lines give the sense that ideas are being listed, which is to say that the periods and commas relate the perception of a finished idea, which is then followed by another finished idea. If the lines of the poem are representative of Transcendentalist theory then they become exemplary of the notion of the individual, so that as each end-stopped line is a unique completed thought, each individual is also a unique and completed person that is distinct is some way. In this way, Whitman interprets Transcendentalism’s focus on individualism.
In section seventeen of “Song of Myself,” Whitman embodies Transcendentalism through the use of anaphora: “If they are not […]/If they are not […]/ If they are not […]” (Whitman 42). Transcendentalism puts emphasis on the individual and the oneness of being; Whitman is able to combine these two tenets through his use of anaphora. As each line begins in the same manner, the reader is able to understand this sense of sameness, so that even as the ending of each line differs, they remain connected by their beginnings.
By starting each line the same, the reader is drawn to that which holds together this section of the poem. The oneness of being, which Transcendentalist thought teaches to connect all individuals, is mirrored through Whitman’s use of anaphora as it represents the literary oneness that connects the individual ideas that complete the lines. Whitman also employs the use of repetition as a literary device to again demonstrate the idea of oneness. In the first line of section seventeen, Whitman repeats the word “all” (Whitman 42).
In the literal sense, the word “all” signifies the collective by representing inclusivity. In a more symbolic sense, the repetition of the word also indicates the collective because if the word were to be used only once, it could be said to represent the individual. However, because the word is repeated, it becomes more than just an individual; it becomes the collective of the individuals. This speaks to Transcendentalism as it comments on the relationship of the individual and the oneness that links all things.
Walt Whitman successfully creates a poem that incorporates the main tenets of Transcendentalist teachings so that the reader not only becomes aware of the significance of the individual, but also how that individual works in the realm of the collective, which is to say how individuals are connected through a oneness of being. Whitman’s poetry is important to the creation of an American identity as it champions the very foundations that America was built on, and which are still relevant today. Whitman, Walt. “Song of Myself. ” The Norton Anthology of American Literature.
Ed. Jeanne Campbell Ressman and Arnold Krupat. 7th ed. New York, London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007. Print. Reply 6. [pic]Amanda Sun says: July 13, 2011 at 11:09 pm In the poem “Success is counted sweetest” by Emily Dickinson the narrator depicts the true essence of success and its meaning to those who have failed. In the first stanza it is stated that success is “sweetest” by those who “ne’er succeeded”, thus those who have not succeeded and failed have a more in-depth true value of success rather than those who have succeeded themselves.
Dickinson attempts to imply that what we learn from our failures can never be taught by what we get out of our successes. Moreover the true individuals who have failed and still thirsts for success like thirsting for water understands that just having one single drop of “nectar” or success is the sweetest and most satisfying. In order for one to comprehend the value of success one must feel the “sorest need”. Therefore only those who have a powerful desire for success even after failure would be able to enjoy the beauty of it.
In the second stanza Dickinson mphasizes that those who have the sweet taste of victory cannot truly clearly define what victory means. Those who haven’t experienced success in their lifetime have a much more powerful desire to reach their goals versus someone who often succeeds. When an individual accomplishes a goal their desire to reach that goal dies. Moreover, often times the color “purple” connotes royalty, luxury, or sophistication. Dickinson might over made the flag specifically purple to represent royalty, thus in royal families most individuals are born into their social ranking and don’t understand the concepts of hardships and hard work.
This brings up the idea of instant gratification at which you are rewarded without putting in the work or adversity another individual has. Therefore those who desire and instantly receive what they were hoping for forget the value of longing for that success to begin with opposed to those who have tasted failing. Through the third stanza Dickinson portrays the virtues of failure as the victors bask in their success with their celebrations with merely a flag on top of the hill and those who lost the battle have to walk away as their own are dying, yet more much more desire.
To witness the victors celebrating the individuals are fueled even more with a desire, longing, and passion for true success. By suffering from defeat those who lost the battle still have a very strong sense of passion to win. Therefore the defeated army get much more out of a loss than one may think, they in turn get a real lesson on the meaning of victory and success. The main theme of the poem is to express the beauty of failing and succeeding and how those who have already experienced failure can truly appreciate triumph when accomplished.
Also, Dickinson shows the truth of human desire because often time’s human beings long for what they cannot have. Dickinson displays that human desire involves pain, rejection, isolation, disappointments, and failures as well. Also, the amount of rejection and pain we experience makes success or joy even sweeter when tasted. Reply 7. [pic]Jon Coleman says: July 13, 2011 at 11:21 pm In Walt Whitman’s famous work “Song of Myself” he discusses many characteristics of the human condition.
He discusses human emotion, death, and mankind’s relationship with nature as a way to sanctify the individual and to distinguish the individual from the masses. Walt Whitman was very much aware of the philosophy of transcendentalism, the ideology which prizes individual self-knowledge as the key to true understanding. In Part 16, he describes what it means to be human by highlighting the solidarity that he himself feels with mankind. “I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise”. Whitman wanted to express the view that he spoke for mankind as a whole.
Though the poem is entitled “Song of Myself”, the whole notion of just who “myself” is gets lost in the text and begins to refer to mankind as a whole. Whitman writes that he is, “A Southerner as soon as a Northerner, a planter non-chalant and hospitable down to the Oconee I live”. In writing about individuals from various parts of the country, it is important to remember Walt Whitman’s background. Walt Whitman served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. As he comments on solidarity, this can also pertain to his political views regarding the sectional crisis that overtook the nation.
Whitman was the self-proclaimed American Poet. His words in this regard are indicative of that. Solidarity refers to reconciliation and reconciliation pertains to preservation of the Union. Abraham Lincoln, Whitman’s hero, once noted that, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”. This applies to individuals as well. Thus, human nature transcends boundaries. Rather from Kentucky or West Virginia or Ohio, all humans are bound together in the sense that we are all prone to the human condition. That in itself is a uniting factor.
Transcendental thought was rooted in the pursuit of personal knowledge. First the individual must come to terms with the fact that the only thing one can control is oneself. Once that is realized, the individual must seek peace through personal knowledge and a relationship with nature. Whitman viewed civilization as an offspring of nature, not in conflict with it. Thus, the individual must reach a level of understanding with nature in order to better understand oneself. It is with this in mind that he ends his poem, speaking of his return to the soil. I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love…” he writes. He also ends his poem with a call to action directly in line with transcendentalist thought. “Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, Missing me one place search another, I stop somewhere waiting for you”, writes Whitman.
This last statement is an appeal to the reader to never stop in the pursuit of truth and meaning. Indeed, references to the “myself” of the title transform into the reader. Finding oneself is thus the journey of a lifetime and is a defining feature of mankind. Reply 8. pic]Michelle Olmstead says: July 13, 2011 at 11:35 pm Emily Dickinson’s #359 (A Bird, came down the Walk -) is a deceptively simple poem that is much more than a mere description of an encounter between the speaker and a bird. Utilizing an ABCB rhyme scheme, Fourteener meter, and enjambment with dashes (all typical to her writing style), Dickinson’s comparisons between humans and wild creatures suggest that we are not so different, and she also asks the reader to feel compassion towards the bird’s vulnerable condition. The poem acknowledges both the beauty, and inherent danger, of nature.
The first two stanzas contain key phrases to personifying the bird and giving it human attributes. For example, the poem begins with saying that the bird “came down the Walk” which the reader can imagine as it casually strolls down a sidewalk. The manner in which the bird eats is also mentioned: “he drank a Dew/ From a convenient Grass -” as if he were drinking from a glass with sophistication. When the bird eats his worm, Dickinson finds it important to clarify that it is “raw,” as if there was a question of the bird possibly cooking its food like a human would.
In the second stanza, the bird courteously moves out of the way the way to let a beetle pass him, as humans might similarly act with other people on a walkway. All of this human-like behavior is described before the bird knows he is being watched, so his conduct is unchanged by the speaker’s presence. This reveals that when most similar to humans, the bird is at his natural and instinctive state. The reader feels more connected and concerned for the bird’s well-being once he is more relatable and possesses human characteristics.
The third stanza reveals a changed behavior in the bird, for once he notices that the speaker is watching him, he becomes very careful. He suddenly turns cautious, shifting his fearful, beady eyes and “stirring” his head. This behavior is mirrored with the speaker, thereby giving her some bird-like qualities. As the narrator tries to give crumbs of food to the bird, she is described “like one in danger” and “cautious,” just like the alert demeanor of her new acquaintance. By likening the speaker to a wild creature, Dickinson shows that humans and nature are inherently linked.
This cautious behavior is also indicative that the speaker feels threatened by the unknown, possible behaviors of nature and its creatures. The last stanza, in which the bird flies away, is used to depict the effortless grace and beauty of nature, and uses nautical images to do so. The bird smoothly and elegantly “rows” himself away, which illustrates that he is in his element just flying in the air, and not when he is being watched by people. Other images of the bird’s wings as oars, and jumping “plashless” into the water call attention to the ocean (which is also widely perceived as a majestic, awe-inspiring aspect of nature).
The emphasis on the bird’s action of flight also highlights the ephemeral qualities of nature; beautiful moments like the one the speaker is witnessing can’t last for long. It is clear that the speaker is captivated by the bird’s seemingly simple and beautiful life. She shouldn’t be envious, however, because of the obvious hardships birds have to endure in their day-to-day life. This bird is in constant danger of being hunted, and his cautious behavior and “frightened Beads” of eyes reflect that.
Though humans and nature’s animals may be kindred beings, Dickinson shows that humans must be grateful that we don’t have to live in fear as they do. Reply 9. [pic]Chana Sachs says: July 14, 2011 at 12:07 am In “Success is Counted Sweetest” by Emily Dickinson, the author uses a story of armies in battle to argue that one is not able to truly appreciate what it is to be successful unless one has experienced failure first-hand. The poem can be interpreted further to warn the reader of the dangers of having a leader in power who has not experienced failure or defeat.
In the first stanza, the speaker compares success to “nectar” which connotes positivity, sweetness, and nourishment. In Greek mythology, nectar was the drink of the gods and linked to immortality. The speaker states that only those who never taste success really appreciate its worth. Those who taste this nectar of the gods and have this “eternal life” can never truly understand or appreciate what it means to live, as they never have to face death or failure. One will always take what they have for granted until it is gone.
Although literally the second stanza is about a battle, Dickinson’s use of the color purple, as well as her use of capitalization suggests that there is more going on. This stanza introduces the battle that has just occurred in which the “purple Host” achieved victory, yet cannot fathom the fate they would have suffered in defeat. Purple is the ancient color of royalty and has come to symbolize power, authority, and leadership. By capitalizing “Host,” Dickinson suggests that it represents more than just the army itself. The word “host” is defined by freedictionary. com as both an army or “a great number; multitude. By this reasoning, the “purple Host” represents the “multitude” of leaders and authorities of society. Those in high positions are successful in getting what they want, and no longer understand the lives of the everyday citizen. This is dangerous as they are the ones that can take the “Flag”—capitalized to represent everything that a flag normally stands for: freedom and country. Interestingly, all the stanzas in this poem follow a seven/six syllable pattern, yet when the “purple Host” is introduced, the line suddenly shifts from the ordinary into an eight syllable line.
This represents those in authority positions who feel like they are more privileged than the ordinary citizen and do not need to follow the same rules. If those in power do not know what it is like to not always succeed at everything, they will be prone to oppressing their people—causing suffering and death. The third stanza describes the last minutes in the life of a dying solider—defeated and killed by the “purple Host. ” In this stanza, Dickinson uses sound devices that cause the reader to reenact this man’s death every time that the poem is read aloud, reminding future generations to heed her warning.
First, the dashes that separate the word “dying” from the rest of the stanza force the reader to pause and take a breath—mimicking the dying soldier gasping for his last breaths of life. He failed to achieve the “nectar” of success that would have made him immortal to this gruesome death. Also, there is a repetition of the letter “D” throughout this stanza that starts off closer together and steadily grows further apart. The repeated “D. D…D……D” sound imitates the sound of the soldier’s heart beating and slowing as he dies.
At the same time, he hears the sounds of the other army celebrating their victory, yet these sounds are “forbidden” to him as he cannot partake any longer in life. In these last moments, this dying soldier—representing citizens oppressed by the “purple Host” or authority—truly understands and appreciates what it would have been like to succeed and achieve victory. Throughout this poem, Dickinson’s use of war imagery allows her to discuss the importance of experiencing failure in order to truly appreciate success.
Even further, she warns the reader of the dangers of authority figures who are used to a life of success and privilege over the ordinary citizen. Reply 10. [pic]Ashlee Pham says: July 14, 2011 at 1:19 am Although Emily Dickinson’s poem, “The Brain – is wider than the Sky” is simple and straightforward, the depiction behind the meaning of the poem is relatively complex as she creates a correlation between the interior mind of the brain to the exterior life of the world. Dickinson forms these comparisons between the brain and the outer existences in the first verse of each stanza.
Initially, she compares the brain to the sky by claiming that it is “wider. ” Though the sky is extremely vast and practically immeasurable, it can be portrayed that the brain is even more remarkable than the sky in its ability to continuously expand with new information. Despite the fact that the brain may be smaller in comparison physically, it is greater in the sense that it has the capability to perform superior functions such as being able to even think about the sky, and does so “with ease. ” Dickinson then compares the brain to the sea, stating that the brain is “deeper” than the sea.
This can be interpreted in the sense that while the sea is a massive body of water that is miles deep, the brain is “deeper” because it can incessantly absorb and take in countless amounts of details and facts, metaphorically to how “sponges” absorb water in “buckets. ” Furthermore, the sea eventually reaches capacity at its bottom, whereas the brain’s aptitude to learn new things is indefinite, justifying its description as “deeper. ” The last comparison Dickinson makes is between the brain and God, stating that “The Brain is just the weight of God. While it can easily be interpreted that Dickinson is drawing a parallel between the two and labeling them as identical, it is more of a direct assessment of their similarities rather than their equality. Moreover, if it is interpreted that God and the brain are equal, it can become a controversial matter considering God is typically viewed as a great force that has many creations, and the brain is just one of them rather than his equal. In addition, the brain and God are alike in a variety of ways, such as they are both immense and powerful in their capabilities, and both cannot be seen.
On the contrary, the sky and the sea are great creations on the earth that are visible. However, these entities are creations that would not exist without God their maker, and despite their large size, can be held as a small idea or thought within the massive capacity of the brain. Although Dickinson compares the brain to God, she also makes note of their difference as she states “And they will differ – if they do – As Syllable from Sound. ” Assuming that the syllable is a depiction for the brain and sound is a representation for God, it is understood that Dickinson is implying that God is more powerful than the brain.
This can be concluded simply because a syllable is a broken down form of a sound, which does not necessarily hold a structure. Ultimately, Dickinson’s initially simple poem turns out to be extremely complex in its meaning as there is a deeper understanding to the entities that she compares within her poem. Reply 11. [pic]Matthew Renner says: July 14, 2011 at 2:25 am In Emily Dickinson’s “The Brain- s wider than the sky” the speaker explores the interplay of the human mind, nature, and god. By using natural images, the speaker introduces the unity of the mind and nature.
She describes how natural space, (the sea and sky) can shift seamlessly into one another. The poem literally states that the brain can fit into these spaces, but they can fit entirely into the brain as well. This idea of congruence suggests the unity of the natural world and the mind but also sets the stage for the sharp incompatibility of the mind and god. This contrast allows the reader to discover in what ways the mind and god are at odds. The speaker states “The brain is just the weight of god”. This could mean that god and the mind carry the same psychological weight, which would pit the two forces against each other.
This idea is reinforced by the phrase “and they will differ”. However, “The brain is just the weight of god” could mean that god is ever present throughout the mind and has controlled all thoughts. It appears that the speaker is conflicted just like the brain and god who apparently differ as much as “syllable and sound”. On the other hand syllable and sound are somewhat related. The speaker has observably added many levels of meaning to the last stanza which mirrors the complexity of the god, nature, mind interplay. While the speaker debates the extent of connectedness between god and mind, she makes it clear that both of them are burdensome.
He speaker states “For heft them- pound for pound”, evoking images of hard labor. The word heft implies that the burden is not only heavy but unwieldy as well. The phrase “pound for pound” implies tedium, continually loading and dropping of the burden. But why does the speaker feel so burdened? Perhaps it is burdensome because the attempt to answer questions about the mind and god has only yielded more questions. These questions include: Does the mind exist apart from god? Why do god and the mind contradict each other?
There is even an inkling of, do I have the right to ask these questions or should I only accept god? The reader asks these questions along with the speaker, and, as a result begins to feel the burden which is so aptly portrayed in the poems last stanza. Another element of the speaker’s attitude is that they feel muted when talking about the contradiction of god and mind. The words “syllable” and “sound” differ in much the same way that “brain” and “god” do. “Sound” is what represents meaning in a word, “god” is the representation of the vitality and meaning of life as long as it is not defined as an individual. Syllable” can be the actual unit of meaning rather than the representation, “brain” also provides a basis for finding meaning. Perhaps the Speaker is expressing that the mind is where true meaning lies; and that god is just a way to interpret or perceive it. Although the brain and god literally carry equal weight, the speaker is able to raise distinguish the two forces by exploring the issue on many complex levels. Reply 12. [pic]Genesis Lopez says: July 14, 2011 at 3:25 am Poem 1 and Poem 2 from “Songs of Myself” represent Walt Whitman’s transition from a transcendentalist motif to that of a realist one.
Poem 1 is a description of Whitman’s spirituality and belief in a divine connection between all beings. Poem 2 describes the beauty in the nature of the environment and focuses more on demonstrating the majesty of one’s everyday surroundings. Though both poems were written during the same time period, they illustrate Whitman’s ability to grasp the concepts of both transcendentalism and realism. Poem 1 begins with Whitman’s affirmation that he both loves and cherishes himself; he states, “I celebrate myself, and sing myself. Because a transcendentalist mentality states that only by finding one’s self (one’s natural identity) can one connect to the over-soul (the force that connects all beings), transcendentalists place great importance on each person’s individuality. Because of this ideal one can say that the poem begins with a transcendentalist ideal – the importance of one’s individual identity. The poem then moves on to say that “for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. ” Again, the poem makes an allusion to the transcendentalist belief in the interconnectivity of all beings.
The poem ends with another allusion to the importance of discovering one’s true identity. Whitman states, “I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard, Nature without check with original energy. ” This sentence is the most important piece of the poem because it reveals one final transcendentalist aspect – the idea that being “good” or “bad” has no importance in the scheme of life. There is no concrete definition for what is good or what is bad, therefore one can only trust oneself in following their instincts because it is the will of the over-soul.
Thought short, Poem 1 is a prime example of Whitman’s transcendentalist mentality and emphasis on the interconnectivity of mankind. Poem 2 begins with the physical description of a room. Whitman states that there are many perfumes in the room. This repetition emphasizes Whitman’s whimsical fascination with the perfumes. He abruptly ends his romanticized description of the room and begins a new stanza with the phrase “the atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the distillation, it is odorless. ” Here Whitman is stating that the world should not be romanticized, but described as it is.
Perfume is a product used to cover up the true odor of another object. By saying that the world is “odorless” Whitman is alluding to the idea that the world should not be covered up or made to appear to be something it is not, but rather remain in its original state – odorless. This emphasize on the natural state of things is a realist ideal. Here Whitman is veering away from a transcendentalist mentality and emphasizing a realist one. Though Poem 2 is much more of a realist work, it also incorporates certain aspects of Whitman’s transcendentalist ideals.
For example, at the end of the poem Whitman states that “you shall possess the origin of all poems” if you ‘stop this day and night with me. ” The audience can take this phrase to mean one of either two things – By taking pleasure in their surrounding at the moment can one truly come to understand the word or by taking the time to comprehend oneself will you be one will all beings in the universe. The first interpretation is more realist concept, while the second interpretation is a transcendentalist one.
The poem ends with “you shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, you shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself. ” This line is extremely ambiguous and, like the line discussed previously, can be interpreted in many ways – through a transcendentalist perspective on spiritual unity or a realist perspective on learning to cherish one’s natural state of being. Either way, Whitman’s Poem 1 and Poem 2 are excellent examples of his ability to alternate between transcendentalism and realism. Reply 13. [pic]Kenneth Van says:
July 14, 2011 at 4:07 am Walt Whitman was an American poet that wrote about nature, life, and qualities of being American. Whitman was writing the Song of Myself during the early to mid 1800s, when America was going through industrial and territorial changes. He was influenced by the idea that America was abundant in resources, industry, and job opportunities. For example, the idea of the Manifest Destiny (expanding the American territory westward), development of the railroad, and use of steam engine were all popular during the 1840s (before the poem was published).
Song of Myself 50 showed the amount of jobs that were created in cities and country from these inventions. In The Song of Myself #50, Whitman talked about the different occupations and activities in American society. He mentions the President, masons, floor-men, children, pilot, duck-shooter, spinning-girl, jour printer, machinist, policeman, gatekeeper, etc. and their typical job. He also mentioned other activities in America such as baptism, marriage, mental asylums, and bars.
The whole point of mentioning how the “machinist rolls up his sleeves, the policeman travels his beat, the gatekeeper marks who pass,/… The Wolverine sets traps on the creek that fill the Huron,/…the shoemaker waxes his thread” was to show that in America, there are plenty of jobs and occupations available. There is an abundant amount of activity in America from hunting, sailing, working, raising a family, dancing, and walking. And these apply for old and young people as “The old husband sleeps by his wife and the young husband sleeps by his wife”.
Whitman then stated that these activities “tend inward to me”, meaning he accepted the active American lifestyle and he “tend outward to them” meaning he participated in the society. And Whitman’s role in society was to “weave the song of myself”, meaning he is a poet who writes songs. These lines showed his national pride of being an American by not only realizing the active life of America, but being part of it. The meaning of this passage was that the people of America have a role to play in society. It may range from working as a mason, security guard, seamstress, book-keeper, conductor, boatman, etc.
Each person in this society recognized the “fourth of Seventh-month”. That is the day when America became an official country (Independence day), when an “indescribable crowd is gather’d”. Whitman calls the people of America as “indescribable” because everyone plays a different role in society, but the important trait is that the people are “gather’d”, unified, as Americans. By participating in the culture, there is a national pride associated with it. Many transcendentalist writers wrote about how industry demolishes nature, but Whitman did not bash on industry or urbanization in his poem.
He rather admitted that they are both part of America. He stated that “The city sleeps and the country sleeps”. Meaning that the “city”, industrialized, life and “country”, outdoors, life were linked and shared a similarity in that there is a calm period sometime after work. From his listing of occupations of the countryside and urban side of America, he implied that they were both constituents of the American culture. In this passage, the meaning of being American was not defined as a nature lover, but rather someone who works for a living or their family.
Reply 14. [pic]Theresa Menchaca says: July 14, 2011 at 6:07 am 124  Safe in their Alabaster Chambers- Untouched by Morning- And untouched by noon- Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection, Rafter of Satin and Roof of Stone- Grand go the Years, In the Crescent above them- Worlds scoop their Arcs- And Firmaments-row- Diadems-drop- And Doges-surrender- Soundless as Dots, On a Disc of Snow. -Emily Dickonson Close reading by: Theresa Menchaca This poem is about the cyclical, all encompassing nature of death. The first stanza depicts a coffin of tomb.
Alabaster is a type of material that is often referenced in relation to marble statues or tombs, it is a white image, one of purity, and contrasts with the darkness that is usually associated with death. Darkness comes in the second and third lines in the lack of light: “Untouched by Morning…[and] noon. ”; Morning and noon being the times that represent a beginning, and the zenith of life. There is no mention of afternoon, for afternoon represents an ending. The fifth line completes the image of the “members of resurrection” being encased in a tomb or coffin.
A roof of stone would be the coffin lid, and the Satin rafters would be the resting bed of the dead. The fact that the members are sleeping, is another way to say death, but it also indicates that they will awaken; A sentiment that is confirmed by the word “Resurrection. ” Resurrection also carried a religious connotation, as Jesus was risen from death, saved all from damnation. This may be why there is no mention of hell in the poem. The use of the word meek, is also related to God, for “the meek shall inherit the earth,” is a common quote. These are the “meek” that will be resurrected and inherit the earth.
In the second stanza, the first line comments on the many years that pass. It is almost a lament, as one looks back on the life lead and wishes to takes some of them back. The second line mentions a “Crescent above them. ” The crescent could be the moon, waxing or waning, wither way, the cycle continues constantly. The word them could reference the “years” from the previous line, or the “members of Resurrection” from the first stanza. Judging that “Years” ended with a comma and not a dash, the two lines together convey that the moon watches the years pass and ages as well.
The Third line ends after a dash. The word ‘worlds” instead of “world” imply that every action can create a different branch of reality, and contrasts with the moon which would remain the same and unmoving in every “world. ” Scoop implies the gathering of something, and arcs are the movement of scooping. Worlds scooping their arcs are can be the world’s rotation around the sun, and “gathering” their densities, or time, for what the world gathers a past and not much else. In the fourth line, a firmaments is “the sky, considered as an arch” according the Encarta Dictionary.
The sky is not an arch, but it seems to arch, curving around the earth. That Firmaments “row” entrenches the imagery of a boat in the middle of stars; a boat on a lake that reflects the sky. The sky can also be thought of as heaven. Diadems from the fifth line, are crowns; which imply royalty. The dropping of crowns could be the death of kings and queens as the world keeps turning, as mentioned at the beginning of the first stanza. The sixth line, “Doges-surrender,” has doges, which are political figures of high standing, surrendering, or giving up; another way to say dying.
The last two lines appear to go together much like the first two. “Soundless as Dots, on a Disk of Snow. ” Soundless refers to the actions occurring from lines three to six, which consist of dying, what might come after, and that the world continues despite it all. Again there is white imagery with the mention of snow, which contrasts with the firmament, which implies night time or darkness. The drops on the disk, are blood from the images of death from the fifth and sixth lines. The blood that stains the pure white snow, is comparable to the silk against the alabaster chambers.
Throughout the second stanza of the poem, the reader is bombarded with lots of cyclical imagery. “Crescent,” “World,” “arcs,” “Firmaments,” “Dots,” “drops,” and “Disc,” are all circular. They help emphasize the cyclical nature of death, that comes for everyone, even those of higher social standing such as kings and magistrates. The first and second stanzas come together to create a poem about how death reduces every human being to the same level, for all mortal beings die. [720 words] Reply 15. [pic]Carly Bonilla-Flores says:
July 14, 2011 at 9:12 am Throughout Song of Myself, Walt Whitman aspires to create an ideal American, poetic voice. All the way through the collection he breaks free from the standard and strict poetic form, opting for a melodic voice through the use of free verse. As a result of this shift from previous poetic styles, Whitman is able to create a new American voice. Notably, in Section 21, Whitman ventures further into discovering a unique American identity and its relationship with the new land itself.
He is thus able to create this oneness of identity between the American individual and the land by mirroring the relationship to that of a sexual one, as a tension burgeons amidst repetitive diction alongside a divided structure within the poem. In the first half of the poem, the speaker continuously uses the phrase “I am” up until the second half of the poem, which embodies the individual. For example, the poem begins with, “I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul, / The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me” (Whitman 422-423).
Moreover, the second stanza continues with “I am the poet of the woman the same as the man” (425). Both beginnings are formatted as a depiction of separate entities existing together, such as the body and soul, as well as man and woman. Despite their differences, they exist as separate but inherently equal. Moreover, the repetitive “I” and “I am” establishes an unbreakable identity. However, a shift occurs within the poem, which helps create a coming together of the individual and the land. For instance, the speaker asks, “Have you outstript the rest? are you the President? It is a trifle, they will more than arrive there every one, and still pass on” (431-432). The speaker dismisses the idea of hierarchies. This dismissal transitions straight into the beginnings of the bond between the speaker and the land. This shift becomes the tension that allows a consummation between the individual and the natural world. The speaker goes on to state, “I am he that walks with the tender and growing night” (433). For the first time, the speaker declares himself as a male alongside the “tender and growing night,” which resembles the heaving breast of a woman.
Furthermore, this sexual imagery becomes most poignant in the penultimate stanza. For example, the speaker exults, “Smile O voluptuous cool-breath-d earth! / Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees! ” (438-439). The insertion of the “O” most directly alludes to an orgasm, while adjectives such as “voluptuous” and “liquid” are, once again, reminiscent of the female anatomy and sex organs. Moreover, the brief anaphora of “Earth of” creates a build up emotion and pace in the poem, as the repetition grows throughout the stanza.
This repetition the speaker engages in reflects the ever-growing connection he has with the land, and its effect on him. Although the Earth is separate from him, he remains a part of it as he gives himself, as well as his love, to it. This poem, through its subtle division and repetition, showcases the connection between the individual and earth that is only possible once the individual is able to establish himself within a collective whole of existence. He can be as intimate with his soul and body as he is with the land. Reply 16. [pic]Daniel Hernandez says: July 14, 2011 at 9:32 am
Close Reading: “The Brain—is wider than the Sky—” In Emily Dickinson’s poem, “The Brain—is wider than the Sky—” she explores the complexities of the mind and its ability to absorb, interpret, and encompass all reality. In the first stanza the brain is said to be “wider than the sky,” which although physically impossible, points to the brain’s ability to encompass not only the sky, but the entire universe. This idea is accentuated when the speaker challenges the reader to put them side by side, claiming that: “one the other will contain with ease – and You – beside -. By prompting the comparison of the sky and the brain, the speaker forces the reader to use their powers of visualization and mentally contrast the two things, which clearly displays the brain’s ability to fathom things much larger than the sky since one can imagine an entire universe in their mind. The addition of the pronoun “You” in the last line could be seen as directed towards the reader, pointing to the idea that the mind has the ability to easily contain and recognize other minds within itself as well.
In the second stanza, the speaker continues their exaggeration of the brain by claiming it is “deeper than the sea –. ” This alludes to the brain’s almost infinite capacity to contain information. The reader is impelled to hold the brain and the sea “Blue to blue” which parallels “side to side” from the first stanza, and characterizes the brain more closely with the sea and the sky since they are both blue. Next, the brain is said to be able to absorb the sea, “As Sponges – Buckets – do –. ” Here the speaker is pointing to the brain’s ability to soak up an immeasurable amount of information, as it can absorb the sea.
Also it is compared to sponges and buckets which both serve the function of containing liquid, exemplifying the absorptive imagery. In the third stanza, the speaker addresses the idea of the brain in comparison to God. The first line, “The Brain is just the weight of God -,” characterizes the brain as simply an aspect of God (i. e. his weight) which differs from the other two stanzas since the brain was depicted as greater than the sea and the sky. However, the capitalization of “Brain” as well as
God may point to some ambivalence by the speaker in their comparison of the two. It could also point to the idea that the brain and God are both creators, and are equivalent in this sense. Again, the speaker encourages the reader to compare the two, this time urging one to, “Heft them – Pound for Pound -. ” By using the words “heft” and “pound” the image of weight is continued, and the reader is asked to weigh them against each other, as if on a scale, which could represent the struggle one might have when deciding which is more mighty, or which created the other.
The speaker’s ambivalence is highlighted in the last two lines, “And they will differ – if they do -/As Syllable from Sound -,” since the statement that they will differ is followed by a statement of doubt. This idea is accentuated by the comparison of syllable and sound in that, a syllable is comprised of a single sound and is used in combination with others to form words, and language, while a sound is raw, formless, and basic, but also necessary for the creation of syllables.
This comparison parallels the idea of the brain as an aspect of God as well as an equal in the sense that both create more complexity. In another sense, this comparison highlights the idea that although God may be the raw, basic essence of the universe, without the brain’s ability to interpret, analyze and create, there would be no meaning or understanding, and thus, no concept of God. Reply 17. [pic]Sonia Garcia says: July 14, 2011 at 9:34 am Explication of “Wild nights” The expression of love and extreme passion is portrayed very intensely in the poem “Wild nights. The opening line takes the reader to an immediate state of ecstasy that the speaker feels for his lover; it creates an image in the mind of the reader of extreme happiness. However, as the poem progresses the speaker finds himself torn in two. The feeling of total happiness decreases as he or she finds himself in a dilemma as to what path to take: an adventurous, unrestrained life represented by the immenseness of the sea, or paradisiacal nights of lust (“luxury”) with his lover to whom the speaker would be tied to.
Through an image of an indecisive lover, Dickinson illustrates a feeling of uncertainty and endless possibilities that life offers. On one side there is stability and safety, on the other there is the all which is unknown and adventurous. The uncertainty that the speaker finds himself in transcends to the interpretation that the reader must give of the poem. It is difficult to say whether the speaker is male or female, whether he/she chooses “the sea” over the paradise symbolized by “Eden” that his lover has to offer.
In the last stanza, the speaker is in complete harmony and tranquility, “rowing in Eden” when suddenly the image of the “sea” tempts him/her. The following two lines “might I but moor- tonight-/ In thee,” creates more uncertainty, as it’s not clear if “thee” refers to the “sea” or “Eden. ” Many of the words in the poem are loaded with opposing implications. The sea, for example, represents a source unrestrained life, masculine passion. At the same time, its navigation is guided by the compass and the chart, which represent measure and control.
As if being a boat, the speaker liberates himself from the “compass,” the “chart,” and the harm caused by “wind” by being in “port. ” The port is the lover that embraces him/her, giving him savage and unrestricted pleasure, but for which the speaker has to give up his freedom. Once in “Eden,” paradise in companionship of his lover, the speaker finds himself fascinated by that which is at first no longer desired but which is so amazing and tempting even with implications of instability and danger, the sea. The speaker feels a desire of adventure and does not want limitations of any restraining force.
It can be argued his double intensions represent those of every human, the need to be loved and stable but also the need of adventure, freedom, and uncertainty. Although the poem emanates sexuality and presents a lover two possible choices of happiness, in a larger context this poem is a representation of what life as a whole offers to a person. On one side, the restrictions of society will always be present and one will feel the desire to liberate oneself of any limitations imposed to submerge and explore that which is a mystery to us. At the same time, that same society can offer the stability that a person also needs in life.
Ultimately, the ideal is to have a balance between that which is known and the search for what we do not have, using our imagination as a guide contemplate endless possibilities. Reply 18. [pic]Elizabeth Tyler says: July 14, 2011 at 10:02 am Poem 207 (214) – I Taste a Liquor never Brewed. Unlike most of her poems which are sometimes morbid and sometimes uncertain about an afterlife, this poem seems to be a celebration of life at every stage, with each stage represented by a different season. It uses a lot of alcohol imagery, which denotes a party atmosphere, and real enjoyment of what life has to offer.
At the same time, the narrator is speaking about a concern she has about death and the afterlife. The first stanza is different from the rest of the poem. While the other stanzas have an ABCB rhyme scheme, the first stanza has no rhyme. In addition, the rest of the poem is a series of fourteeners, while the third line of the first stanza has seven syllables instead of eight. The first line is ambiguous. The liquor never brewed could be either life or love. The second line seems to be about marriage- A tankard is used to drink beer, and it is a very masculine vessel.
The word scooped can be interpreted to mean to take possession of something, and pearls were symbolic of the status gained by a woman after marriage. The third line uses the term berries, which could be symbolic of youth, or a forbidden fruit, perhaps like virginity. The last line uses the word alcohol, which symbolizes a source of elation. Taken as a whole, the first stanza seems to be describing the pleasure received from consummating a marriage. This could be one stage in a woman’s life. The second stanza is the summer stanza. The imagery used here evokes a feeling of elation, of being full of life.
In the first line, the narrator is inebriated by the air, which evokes an image of someone who loves the outdoors, and enjoys life. The second line, debauchee of dew, describes a hummingbird or a bee, according to the Emily Dickinson Lexicon. The image of a hummingbird as drunk on dew is really beautiful, and the narrator is relating to this image during this time of her life. The third line uses the word reeling, which is interpreted as flying. The last line is about an inn of molten blue. Inns symbolize a refuge, or a safe place. The word blue symbolizes the sky.
This stanza is all about bird imagery. The birds are safe, flying around in the sky, and the narrator feels like she is among them. The fact that the narrator is worried about being safe shows an underlying concern about death. At this stage of her life she relates to the birds because she feels safe and free, but she knows that it will not always be this way. The third stanza is the fall stanza, and it is about death. The first two lines symbolize god (the landlord) taking someone (the bee) into the afterlife, The use of the word bee denotes something that is a source of pleasure and also pain.
The third line echoes the sentiments of the first two. The word butterfly symbolizes someone who is being resurrected, renouncing their alcohol and earthly things in favor of an afterlife. The last line of this stanza uses the term drink, which symbolizes a desire to live your life, but also a desire to die. This stanza seems to describe a dilemma for the narrator. She knows that dying is part of life, yet she is not quite ready to give up. She is not in control; god is the one who decides when it is time to go. At the same time, she is not the one who is being kicked out by god; she is still able to drink.
Dickinson witnessed a lot of deaths during her life, and this stanza could be her reconciling the fact that she lived while people around her died. The final stanza is about the afterlife, and uses winter imagery. The first line talks about Seraphs- usually angels but they could also be loved ones who have died- swinging snowy hats. When one throws their hat, it is usually a celebration, like throwing your cap at graduation. However, you could also hang your hat, which symbolizes taking up residence somewhere, heaven in this case. The word snowy symbolizes cleanliness and quiet- like in a snowstorm.
It is like the afterlife creates a clean slate, where you can have a new life. The next lines talk about saints, the other residents of heaven, running to the windows to see the tippler leaning against the sun. A tippler is a drunkard, but it could also be someone who loves nature or beauty. The sun symbolizes god. In addition, this stanza uses alliteration- many words start with the letter S. This makes the stanza sound beautiful, and adds to the serenity Dickinson describes. The narrator has resolved the dilemma of dying, because heaven is described in a positive way.
Definitions from: Emily Dickinson Lexicon- http://edl. byu. edu/lexicon Reply 19. [pic]Rudy Ruvalcaba says: July 14, 2011 at 10:27 am Walt Whitman’s poem, Song to Myself, focuses on the importance of the individual in order to understand the universe. This tenet of transcendentalism is a focal point that revolves around self-knowledge and one’s relation to the universe. The significance of the individual began with the transcendentalist belief aimed in constructing a new American identity in literature, philosophy, and politics throughout the 19th century.
Through self-assurance as Whitman emphasizes, the individual creates one’s own doctrines and practices rather than living based upon pre-established codes. Transcendentalism’s liberal and free-living practices allow for one’s intuition and self-reliance to act as guidance in encompassing worldly knowledge. In section 2 of Whitman’s Song to Myself, the narrator describes his actions by the natural sounds and senses of the human body. In this section the narrator is self-reliant on his senses and trusts his past exposure to an aroma. He states, “I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it”.
His use of diction by the last coupling of words, “know it and like it” imply that he’s aware of his likes and dislikes and has smelled the aroma before. Whitman uses the perfume as a symbol for natural fragrances and utilizes the smell to understand nature. He further states, “the atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the distillation, it is odorless, “. Whitman’s connection between what he knows and what he doesn’t know is linked by his senses in order to solve for the unknown, which demonstrates how nature is a reflection of individual psyche.
The narrator further analyzes the sounds and effects of his body in relation to understanding nature. He demonstrates this by listing bodily functions of the individual and natural occurrences to join the two as universal occurrences, “the smoke, of my own breath, /Echoes, ripples, buzz’d, whispers…My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing of blood and air through my lungs”. The list of actions not only represents Whitman’s style of writing but also represents transcendentalism by the knowing of oneself as a gateway to the understanding of the universe.
The narrator continues to describe his sense in relation to nature, “the sniff of green leaves…the sound of the belch’d words of my voice”. In order to further elaborate the argument one truly must encompass everything the universe beholds and live it to the fullest He concludes this section with questions to his readers, “Have you practis’d so long to read? /Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems? ” The list of questions explores the true meaning of living in which the narrator brings about by questioning our judgment of things.
The narrator concludes the section by stating a transcendentalist moral to live up to, “You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the specters in books”. The narrator successfully illustrates the image of transcendentalism in which the individual takes different perspectives into consideration and formulates one’s interpretation. Whitman focuses on transcendentalism, reflecting on the individual and nature as a means of understanding the universe. Reply 20. [pic]Shakeela Swaby says: July 14, 2011 at 10:32 am
In the poem, I died for Beauty – but was scarce, Emily Dickinson’s and describes the relationship between Truth and Beauty through choice of diction and rhyme scheme.. Dickinson’s hints at their being bond between beauty and truth in the first stanza of the poem when she purposely placed one person who “died for Beauty” in a room next to or “adjoining” the other person who “died for truth”. Dickinson using the word adjoining to describe the position of the “Truth” room in regards to “Beauty” also further emphasizes the connection between beauty and truth.
They are “lain” in parallel to each other, side by side indicating that there is a similarity between the two. In addition to that, the use of the word Brethren in the second stanza establishes and implies that Beauty and Truth are intertwined together. Brethren is also defined as a type of fraternal religious group which also hints and implies that beauty and truth are qualities that belong of the same category and because of it, it also establishes a relationship or bond between the two Dickinson further hints at this bonds. When the erson who died for truth replied “And – for Truth- Themselves are One-“ This line is rather straightforward but it also emphasizes the close bond and connection (the unity and interchangeability) that beauty haves with truth. Through the portrayal of the person who died for truth and the person who died for beauty as siblings or “Kinsmen” Dickinson’s acknowledges and states Truth and Beauty direct relationship with each other. Also , through the second stanza of the poem, the peculiarity of the dead of both truth and beauty being granted the ability to communicate and speak to one another establishes this connection.
There “talking between rooms” also implies that truth and beauty are in constant communication with each other. It is only there is there is a stop of communication or connection between the two that they fall silent or until “until the moss… covered up – our names”. The fact that bond or communication can be cut off by both their names being covered also indicates or implies that Dickinson’s is that once there is no truth, there is no beauty. Dickinson also uses rhyme to establish unity between the two. In the second stanza, Dickson rhymes the first, second, and last stanza.
The first two lines were rhymed normally but the last one served as a slant rhyme. In addition to that, there is cohesiveness of Truth and Beauty also seen within the first and second stanza. Finally, in Dickinson’s last stanza compared to the first and second lacks a rhyme scene, as well as, set it apart from the other two scenes. Because of this, it also reveals and represents how Truth and Beauty bond can only be severed through death. In other words, where there is truth there is beauty and vice versa. Reply 21. [pic]Felizza Lopez says: July 14, 2011 at 10:36 am
Emily Dickinson’s poem numbered 199 is a critique on the social concepts related to status and marriage. Dickinson uses comparison to juxtapose the life of a girl and that of a woman to convey that at that time society pushed women into marriage. The speaker of this poem is a woman who has just gotten married and is contemplating her life before she got married and after. In the first stanza she states “ I’m Czar—I’m “Woman” now-/ It’s safer so—“ and this might allude to how back in that time girls weren’t considered women until they got married.
Marriage was like a stepping stone that allowed females to transgress from girlhood to womanhood. She states that she is “Czar” because she is no longer under the control of her parents and is now exercising great authority and power over her life. Another important word in this stanza is safer because society at that time made girls believe that once they were married they would be “safe”. They would have financial stability and not have to worry about being taken care of because their husbands were now there to protect them and provide for them.
Dickinson also chooses to put quotation marks on the words “wife” and “woman” and I think this is because she believes that these words are tainted or influenced by society’s ideas of what a woman or wife should be like. Since Dickinson never got married I think she is saying that it is okay not to conform to societies expectations and that women should instead embrace there womanhood and define it for themselves. In this poem she is depicting what women believe married life to be like and showing how society has influenced their beliefs.
In the second stanza Dickinson compares the transition from being a girl to becoming a woman to that of living on earth then going to heaven. I feel like this is an exaggerated view on marriage that is meant as a hyperbole to show how glorified marriage was back then. She also states that marriage is like an Eclipse, I interpreted it to mean that it is something that overshadows the life you had before getting married and makes it less important by comparison. In the last stanza of Dickinson’s poem she states this life (being married/ a woman) is comfort while the other life( single life / being a girl) was pain .
She juxtaposes these two in order to exemplify how woman associated being married with comfort and being single with pain. Through the perspective of a girl at that time being married was considered a comfort because she was now a woman who had control over her life and did not have to worry about her parents meddling in her affairs or trying to dictate her life . Being single was painful for girls at that time because they were meant to believe that if you were single you were like an outcast, you would be alone, confined and unable to exercise your agency.
The last line of the poem suggests that this girl has attained her goal. She has conformed to society’s pressures on getting married to attain stability. Reply 22. [pic]Eric Solorzano says: July 14, 2011 at 10:59 am As I sit and read her poem again and again, each time I find a new meaning and a new message. What is clear is that in her poem, “My Life had Stood a Loaded Gun”, Emily Dickenson uses deep metaphor along with a genius play on words and vividly descriptive narrative in order to share with the world what is on her mind with the security of her confessions ambiguity.
It is this mystery with which she writes that leads me to believe that her message was something both very personal and perhaps unpopular, as she wrote it in a style which could be interpreted many different ways. This observation, along with a little background history on our author, primarily the fact that she was never married, leads me to believe that in her poem, “My Life had Stood a Loaded Gun”, Emily Dickenson is challenging the traditional gender roles of her time by claiming she herself is the loaded gun.
Though there is a slight feeling of sorrow throughout the poem, alluding perhaps to her inner desire to have led the more traditional life of being married and having had a husband and family, she makes it clear that this is not the person she is. She clearly states that she is independent and will be until the day she dies. The first clue which led me to believe that Dickenson was challenging traditional gender roles through her poem was the fact that she depicts herself as the loaded gun, a symbol of violence, protection and sexuality.
Though she does reference an owner and a master, obviously images of ownership which would go against my thesis of her claiming her independence, It is important to note that she claims to protect him. This role as protector is demonstrated clearly in the 5th stanza, “To foe of His – I’m deadly foe – None stir the second time – On whom I lay a Yellow Eye – Or an emphatic Thumb –“. It is the job of the owner to protect what is owned, yet here the role of protector is reversed forcing the reader to question who really possesses who.
She also takes the lead role in the poem in the third line of the second stanza where she states that she speaks for him, as well as in the second line of the fourth stanza where she again assumes the role of protector as she clearly states that she guards her master’s head. Along with the challenge of gender roles, Dickenson is claiming her independence as a woman. Though claim she does, the wording with which she expresses herself gives the reader the sense that it is a somewhat sad admission for her to make.
In the opening sentence of her poem she writes, “My life had stood – a loaded Gun”, as if she is already at the end of her life looking back and the metaphor of her life having stood as a loaded gun signifies that she didn’t live to her fullest. The sole purpose of a gun is to fire, however she had come to the end and stood there still loaded. In the final stanza of the poem is where Dickenson most clearly combines both of the themes of which she writes when she states, “For I have but the power to kill, Without – the power to die –“.
Thought some people would interpret this as purely sexual, I believe that Dickenson meant it in less of a sexual way and more of an emotional way with the power to kill being the power to love and the power to die being the power to be loved. In this closing sentence Dickenson admits that though she knows she has the ability to love, she fears that nobody would ever return the feeling, at last accepting her independence as part of her fate, whether she likes it or not. Reply 23. [pic]Julie Sandoval says: July 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm
The underlying theme in Emily Dickinson’s poem “I died for beauty – but was scarce…” is that all people, regardless of the individual pursuits of their lives, meet the same ultimate fate of death. The poem implies that to die is to fail at life unless, by leaving good deeds behind at death, a person imparts a part of his or her self to the world. In the poem, the speaker states that she has died for beauty. The poem is ambiguous and never states explicitly that the speaker is a female, but I inferred that for my specific interpretation, the speaker was a female.
Perhaps the speaker attempted all her life to impart beauty to the world but failed because it was impossible to be immortal. Here it is important for readers to ask themselves what beauty meant to the speaker; I believe that beauty is symbolic of poetry because the speaker symbolizes Emily Dickinson herself and her way of imparting beauty to the world was through her poetry. Essentially, Dickinson died for her poetry because this was her life’s passion and pursuit. In the second stanza of the poem, the man who died for truth asks Dickinson why she has failed. This statement attributes failure with dying, as if to die is to fail at life.
But I believe that death could not be failure if beauty and truth remain afterwards. The man in the poem died for truth. Perhaps all his life he pursued reason and intellect in order to ascertain certain truths; he surely contributed to the world and to society if he imparted his knowledge to others. Dickinson also imparted the beauty of her poetry to the world. Or perhaps it is the complete and opposite way around. Maybe in this poem Dickinson believes she has died and failed because her poetry was not widely recognized and did not reach or touch many people before her death.
Dickinson achieved immortality through her poetry after death; the poem seems to chillingly foreshadow this fact. It is possible that, in a similar way, the man who died for truth never found the real truth he sought, and thus failed at life as well. By unifying herself and the man as “bretheren” and “kinsmen” in her poem and describing beauty and truth as equal, Dickinson succeeds at establishing the concept that people are not alone in their individual pursuits. She and the dead man are similarly disheartened with their failures at life; they are together in death and become kinsmen because they share the same fate.
She seems to want readers to understand that in the end, our pursuits in life do not matter because death takes us all and thus unifies us. Regardless of our contributions to the world we all fail when we die because our contributions will eventually be forgotten; in the last stanza she describes how moss covers up their names, which means that they are then forgotten. So despite how strongly we can fight for our life’s passions and do good for the world, everything degenerates and passes on. Reply 24. [pic]Eric Minn says: July 14, 2011 at 6:16 pm Whitman 49
In part 49 of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”, Whitman talks about the interrelatedness of life and death, and touches on the supernatural and physical aspects of both. The very first line of the poem states, “And as to you Death, and you the bitter hug of mortality, it is idle to try to alarm me. ” In other words, death is something that will eventually happen to everyone, and should not be any cause for alarm. Whitman goes on to write, “To his work without flinching the accoucheur comes…”, which is perhaps referring to a personification of death, or what is commonly referred to as the Grim Reaper.
Although people may perceive death as something dreadful, the Reaper does his work without flinching because it is nothing new to him. The next stanza moves on to talk about the affects of death on the physical word. Whitman talks about the value of a corpse as fertilizer, helping to create new life in the form of plants such as roses and melons. It is interesting to note that he adds, “but that does not offend me” afterwards, perhaps because he is able to replace the visual of a disgusting rotted body with a much more pleasant one full of sweet-smelling roses.
He points out that life and death are a constant cycle, and that one cannot exist without the other. It is the death of one that gives rise to the life of another. In a broad view of the universe, individual lives and deaths are nearly inconsequential. He drives this point home with the statement, “No doubt I have died ten thousand times before”. Towards the end of the poem, Whitman evokes the senses through mention of various aspects of the natural world, and uses them to further convey his thoughts on life and death.
By doing this, he reinforces the theme of the poem, and makes a connection between the never-ending cycle of life and the natural world that facilitates it. In the middle of it he asks “if you do not say any thing how can I say any thing? ” Whitman acknowledges that he is part of a much larger system, and that he owes his existence to the world around him. Without the myriad of lives and deaths that occur all around him, he could not possibly exist. Whitman’s writing is full of transcendentalist ideas. In this particular poem, he conveys a certain sacredness both life and death, which is consistent with the belief in the divinity of nature.
Whitman uses his intuition and perceptions of the natural world to help make sense of death, something that has baffled and frightened human beings throughout their entire existence. But while it has been common for cultures throughout history to assign positive or negative ideas to death, Whitman’s transcendentalist beliefs give him a far more neutral view of the matter, seeing it as a phenomenon that is essential to the world as we know it. Reply 25. [pic]Cassandra Phengdy says: July 14, 2011 at 10:14 pm Cassandra Phengdy July 14, 2011 ENGL 103A Professor Thomas Closed Reading Assignment: Walt Whitman, 48
In Walt Whitman’s poem numbered 48, “I have said that the soul is not more than the body,” Whitman introduces to his readers the concept and complexity that is created by Transcendentalism, as he repeatedly reinforces the idea of the Over-Soul being the ultimate divinity. It is clear to Whitman that “nothing, not God, is greater to one than one’s self is” (1271). His first stanza is all about “one’s self” and how there is nothing is greater than the individual. Through his words, we can interpret the meaning and symbolism when he says “nothing, not God, is greater to one than one’s self is” (1271).
We can argue that along with one’s self, nature takes a major role in playing its part with the universe and divinity. With the line, “And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes” (1277), he insinuates that through the connection of nature and of yourself, you are mighty, you are divine, you are one with nature and that shows before the “million universes. ” For the second stanza, Whitman continues with the idea of the individual and Over-Soul as he states, “And I say to mankind, Be not curious about God, / For I who am curious about each am not curious about God” (1278/1279).
Here, Whitman implies that there should be no question or curiosity about who God is and where God is because God is within us. Transcendentalism is adamant with the idea that your individuality, your soul, is the key to unlocking the universe. Therefore, God is within you. The key to the universe is a powerful thing, and since God is seen as an all powerful being, you, yourself is all powerful as well. As vain as it may seem, if you trust yourself, believe in yourself, anything and everything is possible. Because “who there can be more wonderful than [you]” (1282).
When you ask yourself “who is God”, you are really asking who you are, and the only way to ever find out the answer is to find it within. In the last stanza, he continues with more talk of God, and how through each individual’s divinity, that is where God really lies in. God is not the powerful presence that many believe him to be, the one that creates life. God is actually within each and every one of us, he says that in the lines, “I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and each moment then, / In the faces of men and women I see God and in my own face in the glass,” (1283/1284).
Not only does he believe that God is within us and that the individual is the key to unlocking the universe, he also believes that nature helps us in the guidance towards the path of connecting to our Over-Soul. That the line that distinguishes between nature and one’s self is not in existent because we are one with everything, we are one with the universe. In the line, “I find letters from God dropt in the street, and everyone is sign’d by God’s name” (1286), “everyone” can be a reference to nature. “Everyone” can be the birds, the trees, the insects, the sky, the clouds. And through “everyone” one can believe that one never really dies.
As Whitman ends the poem, we can also argue that the over message can be that through one’s individuality, we are immortal. When we unlock that key that breaks us into the universe, we live and “come for ever and ever. ” There is Life and Death. But Life and Death coincide with one another and are in sync. It is the eternal cycle that is bestowed to every one of us. And it is our destiny. Reply 26. [pic]Melissa Tidd says: July 20, 2011 at 11:08 am Song of myself – 17
“These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they are not original with me, If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing, or next to othing, If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they are nothing If they are not just as close as they are distant they are nothing. This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is, This is the common air that bathes the globe. ” This section of Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself is rather short, but it embodies transcendentalism in every word. The transcendental way of thought pioneered by Emerson and Thoreau believes that all men must follow their own intuitions and thoughts, however it also says that the thoughts of one man are the thoughts of all men.
In Sounds, Ralph Waldo Emerson says “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men-that is genius. ” In this section of Song of Myself, Whitman draws from this idea that we share thoughts with all of mankind, opening the poem saying that “These are really the thoughts of all men…. they are not original with me. ” In this poem, the speaker is looking to find, in Emerson’s words, “an original relation to the universe”, but also balancing that with his knowledge that his thoughts are the thoughts of all men, and he is spiritually and physically bound to the thoughts of others.
This is most apparent in the second line, “If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing,” in which the speaker acknowledges that while his own individual relationship with the universe is important, not sharing the same thoughts with the rest of mankind nullifies his own relationship with nature, adopting the transcendentalist idea that intuition is a a means for conscious union of the individual psyche with the world psyche. The first stanza in this poem focuses mostly on the speakers relationship with the rest of mankind, from a transcendentalist point of view.
When the speaker says, “These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands,” he is acknowledging the transcendentalist idea that intuition does not change with technology. Transcendentalists like Emerson and Thoreau resisted technology, but acknowledged its presence and it’s force on society. However, transcendentalist thought transcends over all human beings of all times, as man is interconnected spiritually, which comes across in the first line of this section of Song of Myself.
The speaker then goes on to address the reader directly, challenging the intuition of the reader by saying that the speaker and the reader share the same thoughts as well, pulling the reader into the poem and the transcendental way of thought, making the poem much more personal. In Transcendentalism, the spiritual transcends the material, uniting all. Transcendance can only be achieved through individual intuition, which the first stanza focuses on. The second stanza of this section of the poem describes this intuition in a more natural, divine way.
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