The Wound-Dresser Summary
by Walt Whitman

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The Wound-Dresser Summary

The Wound-Dresser, by Walt Whitman, is a poem that was written in 1865. The poem has four sections. When you write a summary or work with the text in any other way, using these four sections as a way to organize your paper could help.

The first section has children asking an old man about his time in war. They ask him things like, “… what deepest remains?” That is, what has stayed with him the longest about the war? This section is essentially filled with questions from the children.

The second section is all about the old man’s memories of battle. The focus is on how most of what he remembers is the negative stuff. The idea is that there are often a lot more bad times than good times as a soldier. There were glories here and there, but pain and death happened more frequently.

The third section is full of graphic depictions of war, especially the hospitals that take in the wounded.

Finally, the fourth section wraps up the poem as the narrator recalls his memories of trying to soothe the wounded soldiers, many of whom were very young.