Whispers of Heavenly Death and Songs of Parting: Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Name the cities Whitman writes about in Of Him I Love Day and Night?

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2. Where is the poet walking in As If a Phantom Caress’d Me?

3. What is the spider doing in the poem A Noiseless Patient Spider?

4. In Night on the Prairies, now that supper is over, what are the emigrants doing?

5. What is the poet doing in Night on the Prairies?

6. In the poem Thought, what does the poet think about as he sits with others at a great feast?

7. What does the poet plan to do when he goes “forth” in As the Time Draws Nigh?

8. In Song at Sunset, how does Whitman describe old age?

9. In the poem My Legacy, does the poet plan to leave gems and gold to his friends after his death?

10. Why are the bells ringing in The Sobbing of the Bells?

Answers
1. In the poem, Whitman mentions Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and New York or “Mannahatta.”

2. He is “alone walking here by the shore.”

3. The spider is spinning a web.

4. The emigrants are sleeping, “wrapt in their blankets.”

5. The poet is thinking about ”space and eternity.”

6. For unknown reasons, the poet suddenly conjures up an image of a terrifying ship wreck at sea.

7. Before he dies, the poet plans to “traverse the States awhile.”

8. Whitman writes of the “grandeur and exquisiteness of old age.”

9. No. The poet says his legacy will be his poems, and “certain remembrances of the war.”

10. The bells are ringing to announce a “sudden death” (of President Garfield in September 1881).

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