Kirk , Adams
Whitman and Dickinson
In “O Captain! My Captain!” uses the ship, the voyage at sea, and the Captain, within the poem to describe the mood of the United States in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. The “fearful” voyage at sea, then, is an appropriate metaphor for the arduous Civil War, which has finally ended, but ironically, the Captain of the ship, Abraham Lincoln, has fallen dead (Line 2). Whitman uses extensive imagery to describe the North, awaiting the ship to dock, “exulting,” and “their eager faces turning” (3, 12). But at the same time, there are underlying burdens of grief that the war brings. Whitman describes the postwar era with a pervading irony within the poem; although “the prize we sought is won,” the true reality of the situation reflects a phyrric victory (2). The narrator’s “mournful tread” on the deck of the ship becomes symbolic for the United States, as the South grieves her defeat, and the North mourns the loss of a leader (22).
Emily Dickinson is one of the most famous authors in American History, and a good amount of that can be attributed to her uniqueness in writing. In Emily Dickinson's poem 'Because I could not stop for Death,' she characterizes her overarching theme of Death differently than it is usually described through the poetic devices of irony, imagery, symbolism, and word choice. just being a founding poet of American literature her major themes consist of many different perspectives and speak about everything from Life and Death, to Nature and Spiritual objects. When people read, “Because I could not stop for death”, they do not realize the actual major theme that Dickinson is trying to get across. In the line, “Because I could not stop for Death- He kindly stopped for me-, she describes Death as if he were kind and respectful to stop for her and invite her into his passageway, the means Death is written in her poetry. In her poem 'Because I could not stop for Death,' she refers to 'Death' in a good way. Dickinson states in the poem that 'He kindly stopped for me -- (2). Death is not…