Discuss the differences between Whitman’s pre-war and post-war Poetry In post war poems, Walt Whitman’s poetic language changed because he chose use free verse as to reflect the freedoms America hold dear. Whitman’s national sense cannot be ignored, when he tackles President Lincoln’s assassination in the poem “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.” Again the preceding voices from the pioneers of American revolutions are literarily expressed skillfully in the words of art “Beat! Beat! Drums! To drive home the key element of Revolutions, which were freedom and democracy, the two poems captured Whitman’s sense of patriotism.
Whitman has been described as having been more than a war poet, despite his immense soaring spirits for his fellow citizens. (McCrone A, 2001)
As Whitman learns the effects of war in Come Up from the Fields Father, one notices such changes in Whitman in the poems. Revolutionists began to wear red in their hands with the blood of the fellow citizens. The tone of the poem depicts that magnitude of brutality of the war being one that the America had never experienced, as well as the most personal. In the poem “Dalliance of the Eagles,” Whitman skillfully in his post war poems depict a thread of humanity binding to everyone. Although his writing is to account for the life, which surrounds revolutionists, keen study of his postwar literary work snaps visual images into verse, including all senses and sensualities surrounding both Body and Soul. He transforms the moral sense of the new America, which continually changes, neither for better nor worse, but as to define its inhabitants in his time, as perceived by his audient.
His colorful illumination of sex in “Dalliance of the Eagles,” provokes much more scrutiny into his work. He symbolically used this approach to depict a “sexual” tussle between American symbols of freedom. He explored to his audient as many facets of human life during the times of American Revolution. Many scholars have and misinterpreted Whitman, by claiming he was gay. One poem (“We Two Boys Together Clinging” does not constitute sexuality but Rather describes male bonding, and “clinging” is a more ambiguous sense than actual physical love. (Hirsch J, 2003 p 3-4) In the poem “When I Read the Book,” Whitman endeared both men and women, not only with a sense of procreation in mind, but also as well as the pedestal he put mothers. The poet also noted that learning could not be contained to a classroom, as shown in “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer.” He while praises himself as a prophet while at the same time writing to future poets and their generations with those of the past.
He challenges one to learn all one could in life, through experiences. While describing death, Whitman calls American to love them selves. In “Leaves of Grass,” he humanly comes to terms with such truths as death and appreciates it as part of an ongoing cycle. He describes death as “undeniable and absolutely unavoidable.” (McCrone A, 2001).
In this poem, Whitman endeared to legitimize power of the crowed. (David Haven Blake 2006 p 6) Describing rotting corpses as being feed for the earth, bugs, and decay, he says one can nearly smell along with him, as one might mulch a carpet of grass. He says each blade of grass is individual, each of us sensing our own realities in our own ways, sometimes exposing to ourselves, leaving us open to harsh elements. Sometimes, in fact, we are mowed.
Whitman’s last image is becoming the mulch under our feet. In the poem “I Hear America Singing” Walt Whitman’s carefully selects the words for his titles with literary terms of writing which include rhythm, synecdoche, metaphor, repetition, and imagery. In this poem, there is no rhyme scheme. Although essentially the poem lacks clear metrical and rhythmical pattern, he does use repetition, however, to create rhythm. In “Songs to Myself,” while referring to his previous work of “Leave of Grass” and how some scholars and other poets had failed to get his message,
Whitman employs comic effect to mock this group of readers. The lines: ‘A child said to me, what is the grass? Fetching it to me with full hands to me- How could answer the child?’ not only contain the comic but the difficulty in making his readers understand his poem or songs together with his astute style. (David Haven Blake 2006 p 11) While trying to respond to this challenge he uses imagery immensely in by painting a picture of a moth to create a set of external associations meant to inform the public’s perception of him and hi previous works. He writes: “I have one big and handsome moth down here, know and comes here, likes me to hold him up on my extended finger.” (WPP, 829). Here, his self-praise makes him became the image and his personality performed on the public stage. Yet in a similar way, he uses a butterfly image as a style to pass across another message. He writes: “Over all flutter myriads of light-yellow butterflies, mostly skimming along the surface, dipping and oscillating, giving a curious animation to the scene. The beautiful, spiritual insects!” to make this achievement.
Again, in writing “The Song of Myself” he uses the image of a butterfly again symbolizing the occupant and the expression of virtual America. Some peculiarities can easily be singled out in Whitman’s use of rhythm and verses. His use of rhythms is notable because if scanned continuously and repetitively, it will look like a prose sentence, or an advancing wave of prose rhythm. His work however is created in lines, not in complete sentences as prose normally would be. To Whitman, the line is the unit of communication.
Whitman’s keenness for stylistic movement techniques shows the distinctive quality of his use of meter. While at few instances, he uses an iamb, which is a metrical foot of two syllables, at many instances he has used trochaic, which is accented (Ekaterinburg, 2009)
Whitman’s imaginative power is seen in his use of imagery. The depth of his sensory awareness and his ability to confine the truth immediately is a big attainment by these styles. Whitman has artistically drawn and painted impressions using words, which give the picture of the present. He brings the future as though it was too immediate and give full live to the past with ‘real’ images. At conscious level, his imagery has some rational and consistent order though centered on subconscious, full of memories with a series of images. The images seem to be forming fragments of a world whiles at the same building the structure of the poem. (Ekaterinburg, 2009)