Walt Whitman

Start Free Trial

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

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial