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I am working on a paper with the following directions: As opposed to persuasion, the...

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jwright13 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 15, 2013 at 5:18 PM via web

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I am working on a paper with the following directions:

As opposed to persuasion, the objective for this essay is to research some element of a literary work or body of work, or to analyze some pattern of development within an author’s work or between two authors or a group of authors.

Patterns of development might consider the regional influence of a series of writers, such as, the American Romantics in New England, the Harlem Renaissance, Modernism or Postmodernism

If I understand correctly, analyzing two poets who wrote during the same movement would work; such as, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman during the modern American movement. Do I need to pick a poem from each poet? if so, what are two good ones? The paper has to be 7 pages.

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted June 15, 2013 at 6:20 PM (Answer #1)

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If you choose Emily Dickinson, she has many poems with the theme of death. there is a pattern to her writing. she often writes about death. Some of her poems that express the theme of death in such a unique way are as follows:

"Because I Could Not Stop For Death"

"I Heard a Fly Buzz--When I Died"

"I Felt a Funeral in my Brain"

In the first poem above, Emily Dickinson personifies Death as a friend. She takes a terrifying process and makes it seem less fearful. It is as if she is on a date with Death. She personifies Death as gentleman who is taking her to her final destination. She is not afraid of Death. She treats him as a "courtly beau."

Although Whitman writes about Death as a theme in his poetry, he celebrates life and death in Leaves of Grass. Truly, Whitman celebrates life and the human body and sexuality:

Its celebration of the human body and sexuality in frank and explicit language, particularly in the original long poem “Song of Myself,”

No doubt, Whitman and Dickinson are pioneers of their own unique style of poetry writing. Both poets used unconventional ways of writing. They often did not follow grammatical standards.   

No doubt, both Whitman and Dickinson focused on their individual lives. Both focus on death as well. In their own individual and different ways of writing about death, both Whitman and Dickinson seem to feel an urgency to write about death repeatedly. Truly, neither Whitman nor Dickinson were intimidated by the theme of death.

In the last stanza of Whitman's "Song of Myself," he writes about his impending death. On Emily's death bed, she writes to her cousins:

Little Cousins,/ Called back-/ Emily." on her deathbed.

Truly, Whitman and Dickinson are alike in their subject forms of their poetry. While addressing the larger issues in life, both poets write about common, ordinary events, people, and objects in life.

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