The Wound-Dresser Questions and Answers
by Walt Whitman

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In Walt Whitman's "The Wound-Dresser", how is the poem's narrator characterized?

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 The narrator in "The Wound-Dresser" carries many qualities. First, call him complex and contrary. He (the narrator) focuses on the suffering he sees, but the poem is still in many ways about him and his experience of his suffering. This is both selfless and selfish, in a way. Second, he's contrary because he turns away from his hypothetical audience's call for tales of glory and instead gives accounts of suffering. He is conscientious, carrying for all the men: " To each and all one after another I draw near, not one do I miss." He is sensitive, feeling "pangs" due to the suffering he sees.

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