Walt Whitman

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How does Whitman use repetition to present strong images and emotions to the reader?

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Whitman's poem "A Noiseless Patient Spider," can be considered an extended metaphor. The spider is compared to the poet's soul, a soul which is in search of something. The spider is isolated, exploring its vast surroundings. The soul, too, is isolated "in measureless oceans of space" and, like the spider, constantly "venturing" and "throwing" - constantly searching for meaning, perhaps? Possibly searching for truth? The soul is searching for something to build a bridge to the spheres. What spheres? Possibly the sun, moon and stars? Possibly heaven?

The repetition here emphasizes the frustration associated with life, constantly searching for meaning. "Surrounded, surrounded" and constantly, like the spider, sending out "filament, filament, filament" trying to connect to something, just like a spider does when spinning a web. Repetition of the word " 'til" - for "until" - signifies that this is an endless endeavor for man, constantly "musing, venturing, throwing" -...

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lynnebh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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write1,203 answers

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check Approved by eNotes Editorial