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Whitman and Dickinson, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 300

Essay

Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” has often been called as the most representative American poem, however, based on the selection provided, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes the poem American.  The emotions that are described in the selections and the thoughts Whitman explores can be considered to be universal.  One of the few indicators that the poem is American is a brief mention of a “fratricidal war,” however, these types of wars are not exclusive to America.  If one is to take, “Song of Myself” as a whole, the argument can be made that the poem is representative of America as it is likely to contain more references to things that are exclusive to the country.

Transcendentalism often utilizes nature to help an individual analyze how one’s environment impacts their soul or the formation of one’s individuality.  Poetry about life in the city in not antithetical to transcendentalism because Nature’s definition is subjective.  For individuals who have never left the city and been exposed to Nature in the traditional sense, the city is their natural environment.  For individuals who have never been to the city, Nature can be considered to be the forests, plains, and/or mountains that surround that individual.

In many of her poems, Emily Dickinson poses questions about life, love, and death that often trouble her or that she wishes to understand.  Dickinson is able to accomplish this by personifying certain concepts, such as death in “Because I could not stop for Death,” in order to create a relationship between herself and the concept.  By trying to define certain concepts, Dickinson not only tries to come to terms with these concepts, but also provides insight into what she believes and how her beliefs, or what has been taught to believe, conflicts with what she learns or thinks (logic).

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