Leaves of Grass Essay - Critical Essays

Sample Essay Outlines

Topic #1
Discuss Whitman’s use of imagery and descriptive language in three of his Civil War poems.

Outline
I. Thesis Statement: Whitman’s use of imagery paints vivid pictures of war and death, and his language creates strong emotions within the reader.

II. Cavalry Crossing a Ford
A. Literal meanings of words and images
1. Cavalry rides a “serpentine” course
2. Crossing the “silvery river”
3. Banners waving and flags that “flutter gayly”
B. Emotional connotations
1. Possible interpretations: the reader responds
a. Serpentine course
b. Silvery river
c. Flags and banners fluttering gayly
C. Whitman’s intended meanings

III. First O Songs for a Prelude
A. Literal meanings of words and images
1. “lightly strike on the stretch’d tympanum”
2. “ominous hum our hive at daybreak”
3. “blood of the city up arm’d!”
4. “O for a manly life in the camp.”
B. Emotional connotations
1. Possible interpretations: the reader responds
a. Sights and sounds of war: drums and camp “hum”
b. “Blood” images and death
c. “Manly” pursuits and war
C. Whitman’s intended meanings

IV. Rise O Days from Your Fathomless Deeps
A. Literal meanings of words and images
1. “Rise O days from your fathomless deeps”
2. “Torrents of men”
...

(The entire section is 609 words.)