Posted: March 13th, 2023

What messages are Dickinson and Whitman trying to convey in their poetry? Are they successful? Of the two poets, which one do you prefer

Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman are two of the most influential American poets in history. While they lived during different times, they both wrote about similar themes such as love, death, nature, and mortality. However, their writing styles and techniques varied significantly. Despite these differences, it is possible to identify overarching messages that the two authors sought to communicate through their poetry.

One message commonly found throughout the works of both Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman is that life is fleeting but precious. Both writers were acutely aware of how quickly time passes and sought to make the most of every moment in life by savoring its beauty (Gantert & Chitwood 48). In “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson, she muses on her own mortality while longing for a peaceful end to life: “We slowly drove-He knew no haste/ And I had put away /My labor and my leisure too/For His Civility” (Dickinson lines 7-10). Here she portrays death not as something fearful or menacing but rather an inevitable part of life that should be accepted gracefully. Similarly in “O Me! O Life!” by Walt Whitman he expresses his acceptance of life despite its struggles saying: “Ah, little more than nothing yet the best is well/ Ah spirit from another word yet closer drawn…surrendering all ends all means yet finding infinite aims” (Whitman lines 2-5). Through these poems both authors convey a sense of appreciation for life despite its hardships or brevity.

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What messages are Dickinson and Whitman trying to convey in their poetry? Are they successful? Of the two poets, which one do you prefer

Both Dickinson and Whitman also write about the transformative power of nature as a source spiritual renewal(Fowler 110). This can be seen in many works including “There’s A Certain Slant Of Light” by Emily Dickenson which speaks to her beliefs regarding nature providing refreshment after one has experienced hardship: “When it comes softly back/It almost turns away/Remembrance long outlived” (Dickinson 13-17). This poem reflects on how taking pleasure in small moments like sunsets can help us cope with suffering throughout our lives . In contrast Walt Whiteman typically writes about nature with reverence for its grandeur as depicted in his famous work Leaves Of Grass He exclaims exuberantly: “…the skies up there…Now I laugh see the speckled grass”. Here he expresses joy over being able view priceless natural wonders without having any monetary compensation(Whitman 10-12) . Thus both authors portray nature as a source spiritual sustenance regardless if one needs respite from suffering or simply wishes admire beautiful scenery.

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Comparing their work I believe Emily Dickinson’s poetry speaks more clearly to me personally due mostly because her use language conveys powerful emotions just few words(Faggen 127 ). For example her famous poem ‘Hope Is The Thing With Feathers’ manages express complex feelings hope succinctly; “Hope slips away when we despair—but never completely disappears” (Dickinson line 15 ) Though brief this statement resonates deeply because conveyed so effectively via imagery within rest poem Additionally while reading some poems I noticed subtle humor which adds additional layers meaning even further amplifies impact.(Bolcom 153) On other hand though Whitman often conveys great wonder at natural world his writing style dense flowery prose makes slightly harder appreciate fully since much left readers interpretation sometimes goes over my head.(Simmons 114) Furthermore there plenty miscellaneous topics which aren’t necessarily interesting me like war politics etc which detract from main points want express Nevertheless still admire him greatly due sheer daring originality approach take writing poetry All things considered however overall prefer work Emily Dickinson mainly because better able relate person level way used present thoughts opinions around various topics .

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