Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

12 December 2016

Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson both had different and similar views, which influenced how they wrote their poetry. Their social context, life experiences, and gender are reflected in their poetry. Emily Dickinson focused a lot on death and her struggles of being a woman during her time. Her poems often described the inner state of mind. Waltman attempted to combine universal themes with individual feelings and experiences, such as his personal experiences with the Civil War.

Whitman and Dickinson are two great poets who both were very similar but different in more ways than one, and they were both very influenced by who they were, and their life experience. Their poems were both “small in theme yet has it the sweep of the universe. ” In Whitman’s poem “A Noiseless Patient Spider”, in this poem Whitman uses personification when talking about a spider, which is a metaphor for his soul. “A noiseless patient spider,I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated.

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” It represents how a spider is alone, how it tries to reach out to it’s web but it never connects with anything.

He feels he is alone, he just wants somebody and he tries to reach out, but no one is there. “Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding. ”He also says how he is surrounded by people, but somehow still feels alone, and that he has nobody. He uses the spider to personify who he is and how he feels in life. They way he gives the spider feelings of being patient, which means the spider is calm and willing to wait, that’s called personification, he uses it to help us see the spider. The way the spider keeps trying to build it’s web is tedious and repetitive, this represents how lonely, and tedious repetitive work is like.

And you O my soul where you stand, Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space. ” Whitman talks about the spider in the first half, and his soul in the second half. The way he talks about his soul, is a form of personification. Emily Dickinson is a poet in the nineteenth-century, she is a women, so it is very uncommon that she writes. Being a women author is actually frowned upon in her time, her gender affects her poems a lot and how her themes and views are developed throughout them. In her poem “They shut me up in Prose”, Dickinson talks about how being a women and how society is trying to make er something she is not. “As when a little Girl They put me in the Closet- Because they like me “still”. They expect her to be quiet and docile, but instead she is rebellious, that is why she had to be contained. “Still! Could themself have peeped-And seen my Brain-go round- They might as wise have lodged a Bird”. The way she uses a bird as a metaphor to represent her not being able to be contained is very clever. She also says how no matter how hard they try to keep her from being a rebellious women, they can not keep her from being who she is and thinking the way she does.

Her tone in this poem is very strong and influential, it gets what she is saying very well. She portrays her problems throughout her poetry of being female and a poet. Her not being the norm was frowned upon. They don’t want her to write poems, but more simpler things, since in her time, poetry was a more male dominant thing. Dickinson’s writing style is somewhat similar to that of Whitman, in the sense of their personal experiences of being an outcast and having different views from that of society.

Emily Dickinson was hugely influenced by her gender difference and her rebelliousness to society’s thoughts on how she should be while writing poetry. Her theme in this poem portrays every women in her time period that struggled with being who they really were and being accepted by society, even though she talks about herself in general in this poem, it reflects every women and girl in this era. Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman were both very great poets, who reflected their personal experiences and life in their poetry using personification, tone, and metaphors.

Dickinson’s writing style is somewhat similar to that of Whitman, in the sense of their personal experiences of being an outcast and having different views from that of society. Whitman and Dickinson may of been two different poets, but the way they reflected themselves so well in their poems were very alike. They both used metaphors and objects to represent themselves, and a theme that had a bigger meaning to the world, that you had to think deeper about, “small in theme yet has it the sweep of the universe. ”

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