Walt Whitman Questions and Answers

Walt Whitman

When Whitman writes, "Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes)," he is embracing something that is typically thought of as a shortcoming or...

Latest answer posted November 2, 2017 11:39 am UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

If we define a figure of speech as figurative language, the poem includes metaphor and personification. In Whitman's 1865 poem, Whitman metaphorically compares late president Abraham Lincoln to the...

Latest answer posted May 28, 2017 11:14 am UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman's poetic style may be best described as innovative and unconventional. Whitman constructed his poems according to his own rules. His lines vary in length but are often quite long and...

Latest answer posted January 15, 2021 2:58 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

I would argue that there are three themes in this wonderful, uplifting poem of Walt Whitman's. The first is the joy that can be found in one's work, the second is companionship, and the third is...

Latest answer posted September 26, 2020 11:02 am UTC

5 educator answers

Walt Whitman

First of all, this poem is an elegy. Disillusioned with President Pierce, Whitman felt that he had found an ideal in Abraham Lincoln. When Lincoln was shot after the North's success in the Civil...

Latest answer posted March 1, 2009 4:28 am UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

The overarching theme is the death of Abraham Lincoln. His death heralded not only the end of the Civil War (Whitman's original motivation for writing "Song of Myself" was, according to Whitman...

Latest answer posted September 22, 2017 4:18 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

The poetic/literary devices (such as tone, imagery, metaphor, simile, alliteration, hyperbole and prefix or suffix) of the poem “I Hear America Singing” by Walt Whitman include: Free verse: This...

Latest answer posted January 18, 2016 8:46 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Walt Whitman

As the previous educator mentions, the poem is a catalog of all of the cruelties and acts of meanness that human beings inflict upon one another. Whitman's narrator makes note of the pain of former...

Latest answer posted October 20, 2017 4:54 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

In “Had I the Choice” by Walt Whitman, the speaker begins with an imaginary scenario. He thinks about what would happen if he had the choice to “tally” the world's greatest poets, to “limn” or...

Latest answer posted April 6, 2021 3:43 pm UTC

4 educator answers

Walt Whitman

You are completely right in focusing on the way in which this poem compares and contrasts the victory of the people with the death of their leader. This is the big contrast that drives the poem....

Latest answer posted February 10, 2011 6:37 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

The speaker in Walt Whitman's poem “I Sit and Look Out” ponders the inhumanity of human beings. He looks at the sorrow, oppression, and shame of the world, hearing the cries of remorseful young men...

Latest answer posted January 22, 2021 2:16 pm UTC

4 educator answers

Walt Whitman

To some extent this poem echoes the tone and themes of some of Whitman's other poems, such as "A Carol of Harvest," that explore the sad truths of war. There is a sense of defeat and loss in much...

Latest answer posted January 23, 2017 9:04 am UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

The line "For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you" appears at the beginning of the famous poem "Song of Myself," an integral part of the collection Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. In...

Latest answer posted January 25, 2019 6:06 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

The poem was a tribute to Abraham Lincoln, who had been assassinated in 1865, the year in which the poem was written. The poem is divided into three stanzas. The first stanza begins in a...

Latest answer posted January 5, 2018 2:30 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

Whitman brings his epic masterpiece to a close with section 52. However, if we have learned anything from the poet, there is no true close. Fittingly, the poem ends on a fifty-second section, much...

Latest answer posted May 5, 2018 10:34 am UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

Whitman's "O Me! O Life!" is a poem of contrasts and, ultimately, a statement about the humble but irrepressible value of life. The poem presents the first stanza as a question, which essentially...

Latest answer posted February 9, 2015 5:14 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

Whitman wrote poem to democracy. He wrote about individuality, the beauty of the democratic struggle, of the unifying egalitarian impulses of American democracy...and he loved his fellow Americans...

Latest answer posted March 12, 2012 8:41 am UTC

4 educator answers

Walt Whitman

The tone of "O Captain! My Captain!" does not so much change over the course of the poem as it maintains a tension between exultation and melancholy throughout its three stanzas. In the first...

Latest answer posted January 31, 2018 12:40 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

The complete title of this poem is "The Voice of the Rain". Written by Whitman in 1885 as part of his anthology of poems Leaves of Grass, the poem is a conversation between the author or narrator...

Latest answer posted July 12, 2015 4:51 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

Throughout Walt Whitman's poem "I Hear America Singing," he catalogs various people celebrating their lives as they are engaged in their daily tasks. Whitman showcases carpenters, masons,...

Latest answer posted February 10, 2017 1:37 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

One major theme of the poem is revealed by the one-word title: reconciliation. The speaker refers to it as "Word over all, beautiful as the sky!" Reconciliation, then, the action of restoring...

Latest answer posted August 12, 2017 10:53 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

In “On the Beach at Night Alone,” as elsewhere in his work, Whitman muses on the ultimate unity of being. Although on the surface there is great diversity in the created world, in actual fact there...

Latest answer posted July 19, 2020 11:28 am UTC

4 educator answers

Walt Whitman

The word "singing" is repeated quite often in the poem as Whitman discusses various people—workers in different occupations and activities—as he celebrates all individuals and types of work they do...

Latest answer posted January 13, 2019 5:42 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

This is Song of Myself, from Whitman's Leaves of Grass. You see a lot of nature imagery in the poem because it is considered an example of romanticism. Further, there are elements of...

Latest answer posted January 21, 2010 10:13 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

The literal reading and interpretation of Walt Whitman’s “After the Sea-Ship” is a very detailed description of the impact that a sailing vessel has on the ocean. In characteristically lush and...

Latest answer posted December 28, 2018 10:11 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

This quote is from Whitman's poem "Song of Myself", and it means that there is great honor for the teacher when his students manage to surpass him. This is made more clear in the stanza as a...

Latest answer posted May 19, 2016 6:36 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

There is a familiar metaphor that is germane to this elegiac poem; namely, the ship of state. The lines 19-20 The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;From fearful trip, the...

Latest answer posted January 25, 2015 8:44 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

Another way to read the effect of the repitition of the word "singing" is as a "democratizing effect". By associating various types of people with the same musical quality, Whitman suggests that...

Latest answer posted December 20, 2012 4:06 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Walt Whitman

This section of Drum Taps is different than those in the beginning parts. There all were excited to go off to war. None knew what war was really like. They glorified it and many were killed or...

Latest answer posted March 3, 2009 8:42 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

It’s hard to imagine Whitman writing in anything other than free verse, a form that he largely invented. Partly, this is because of his subject matter, which is nothing less than the totality of...

Latest answer posted June 8, 2018 11:52 am UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman’s poetic voice displays a number of memorable and characteristic features, including the following: self-confidence plain-spokenness enthusiasm celebration joy idealism patriotism, but...

Latest answer posted October 27, 2011 1:35 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman's tone in "O Captain! My Captain!" is largely elegiac, in that it resembles an elegy. The poem was written in honor of President Lincoln following his assassination, and it also has...

Latest answer posted April 15, 2016 5:59 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

Those who "sing" in Whitman's poems are those who are the defining elements of the basis in America. Each particular part of America has a song to sing. In this praising of America's...

Latest answer posted March 5, 2010 9:08 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

I think Whitman carefully uses the word SHOULD. Americans in particular have a very resilient, hopeful, can-do, pessemistic, hard-working attitude. The words blithe and strong fit this model of an...

Latest answer posted March 15, 2010 11:49 am UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

This is a difficult question. Whitman's short, rhyming poem "O Captain! My Captain" is probably his most widely read piece in high school classrooms, but Song of Myself is almost certainly his most...

Latest answer posted March 12, 2012 8:44 am UTC

4 educator answers

Walt Whitman

I think that Whitman was something of a mystic in that he saw all of us as part of the whole; but it was the democratic whole. He saw himself as the poet that Emerson called for; Emerson saw him...

Latest answer posted February 25, 2009 12:51 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

In Whitman's preface to Leaves of Grass, he states the following: "The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem. In the history of the earth hitherto the largest and most stirring...

Latest answer posted March 29, 2018 12:56 am UTC

3 educator answers

Walt Whitman

The scenes you refer to are, I assume, the episodes at the end of the section about heroism. Whitman says, “I understand the large hearts of heroes, / The courage of present times and all times.”...

Latest answer posted March 11, 2016 2:53 am UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

The theme of Walt Whitman's poem "Miracles" is that, although we usually associate the word 'miracle' with an object or event which provokes a sense of wonder, in fact, all of existence, everything...

Latest answer posted October 21, 2019 12:06 am UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

In the poem Whitman conjures up many stark images on a fierce gale blowing across the ocean. His intense use of language and comparison to other powerful emotions lends itself to the...

Latest answer posted September 15, 2015 7:15 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

What I'll do is I'll go stanza by stanza, identifying the main message within each, and then look at how each ties together at the end. Lover divine and perfect Comrade, / Waiting content,...

Latest answer posted October 20, 2015 10:29 am UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

One of Whitman's most powerful elements in Whitman's "I Hear America Singing" is his belief that the American fabric is composed of working individuals. There might be a bit of Romanticism or...

Latest answer posted November 26, 2009 8:55 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

I think that one potential avenue to explore in this question is how Whitman, himself, aligns his own work with the glorification of America. In Whitman's poems such as "I Hear America Singing,"...

Latest answer posted December 1, 2011 6:25 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

Quite simply, he compares a spider, in the midst of weaving its web, with the narrator's soul. "A Noiseless Patient Spider" was included in the 1891-92 Leaves of Grass in a cluster called...

Latest answer posted August 13, 2016 12:25 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

Like many poets, Whitman uses repetition to emphasize particular themes and ideas that drove both his thought and his art. For example, in the poem of "I Hear America Singing," Whitman's...

Latest answer posted August 26, 2009 8:57 am UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

This poem by Walt Whitman was written upon the death of Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated on April 14, 1865, a scant five days after the official end of the Civil War on April 9, 1865. Lincoln...

Latest answer posted October 23, 2015 10:30 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

Below, you'll find basic explanations for sections 12, 17, and 32 of Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself." 12: this section describes the movements of both a butcher boy (217-18) and a group of...

Latest answer posted June 15, 2016 8:46 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

This poem was first published in 1860, when America was certainly a place fraught with discord and injustice. The American Civil War would begin just one year later, and slavery was still legal in...

Latest answer posted September 3, 2018 12:21 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Walt Whitman

Whitman's main literary device in Leaves of Grass (1855-87), which appears in nearly every section of the poem, is metaphor or simile, a characteristic of Whitman's poetic style. In addition,...

Latest answer posted March 14, 2014 6:24 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Walt Whitman

In the poem, Whitman describes various people suffering horrible misery in different forms. However, as he describes them, he doesn't judge, get involved, make commentary, or pass some sort of...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2009 12:13 am UTC

1 educator answer

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