Leaves of Grass Memories of President Lincoln: Questions and Answers

Walt Whitman

Memories of President Lincoln: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What is the underlying occasion that inspired When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d, and who is the hero?

2. In Section Three of When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d, what does Whitman do to the lilac bush?

3. What does Whitman do with the piece of the lilac bush, in Section Six?

4. In Section Eight, what does the star try to tell Whitman?

5. In Section Fifteen, who suffers the most when death occurs?

6. Describe the fate of the captain in O Captain! My Captain!

7. In O Captain! My Captain! what do the bells and bugles represent?

8. Explain why the soldiers are quiet in Hush’d Be the Camps To-day.

9. Describe how the soldiers commemorate the death of their “commander” in Hush’d Be the Camps To day.

10. In This Dust Was Once the Man, what does Whitman equate with man?

Answers
1. The poem is written to mark the occasion of President Lincoln’s death. The President is the hero.

2. Whitman breaks off a “sprig” of the lilac bush to keep.

3. Whitman places the piece of the lilac bush on the passing coffin.

4. The star tries to tell Whitman that a time of mourning is coming.

5. Whitman understands that the dead do not suffer; rather the living who are left behind experience suffering.

6. The captain has died.

7. The bells and bugles are signals that a death has occurred.

8. The soldiers are quiet because their leader is dead.

9. The soldiers ask the poet to “[s]ing of the love [they] bore [their leader].”

10. Whitman equates man with the land he saves from oppression.