Walt Whitman Questions and Answers

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What is the effect of long sets of repetitions in Walt Whitman's poems? Walt Whitman

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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 repetition brings out the idea of the diversity of American citizens and the lifeblood of American forms of action.  In "O Captain, My Captain," Whitman emphasizes the idea of the loyalty felt towards the slain President Lincoln.  This repetition brings to life the loss and mournful pain felt at the death of the unifying leader of Lincoln.  When Whitman repeats, "fallen cold and dead," it brings to light the painful finality of Lincoln's departure as well as the immeasurable loss the nation feels.

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