Dickinson vs Whitman by rahulbose


									Dickinson vs. Whitman

After receiving five years of schooling, Walt Whitman spent four years
learning the printing trade; Emily Dickinson returned home after
receiving schooling to be with her family and never really had a job.
Walt Whitman spent most of his time observing people and New York City.
Dickinson rarely left her house and she didn't associate with many people
other than her family. In this essay I will be comparing Emily Dickinson
and Walt Whitman.
Emily Dickinson's life differs greatly from the life of Walt Whitman,
although they lived during the same time period. Walt Whitman published
practically all his poetry during his lifetime, but Emily Dickinson only
published seven of her poems during her lifetime. Actually, her poetry
wasn't published until after her death. Both Whitman and Dickinson were
poetic pioneers because of the new ideas they used in their poetry.
Emily Dickinson did not write for an audience, but Walt Whitman wrote for
an audience about several national events. The forms each poet used are
different as well. The rhyme in the poetry by Whitman is drastically
different from the poetry written by Dickinson, because Whitman didn't
use any rhyme.
Emily Dickinson grew up in Amherst, Mass, and Walt Whitman grew up in New
York City, New York; this is one way that these poets' lives differ. The
main people that influenced Emily Dickinson were Ralph Waldo Emerson and
Emily Bronte. Walt Whitman was influenced by many people, some of which
were: Elias Hicks, James Macpherson and William Shakespeare. Whitman
read many book reviews by many people; from these, he realized Emerson
was very influential. Whitman was also influenced by the Bible, his
walks in New York City, Tom Paine, and a strong love for music. After
Whitman started preparing to be a poet, he said he was merely
"simmering," but the ideas of Emerson brought him to a "boil." Dickinson
wasn't addressing anyone in particular through her poetry, but Whitman
addressed the citizens of the United States, most of the time, through
his writings. After reading "The Poet" by Emerson and seeing how he
defined the role of the poet in democracy, Whitman was eager to assume
that role. Whitman loved to have his picture taken and there are many
pictures of him. Dickinson only allowed her picture to be taken once and
did so reluctantly. Neither Dickinson nor Whitman got married, but both
had people interested in them or people they were interested in. Emily
Dickinson started writing poetry in 1850, but most of her poems are dated
after 1858. Whitman wrote for many newspapers before he actually began
writing poetry. The world found out he wrote poetry when he published
the first edition of Leaves of Grass. The major turning point for
Whitman was in the 1860's, when his work started to gain more recognition
from critics. Eighteen sixty-two was the major turning point for
Dickinson's life; 1862 was when she wrote most of her poetry. She was
writing about one poem each day. During the year 1862, the man Emily
Dickinson loved left for San Francisco. After he left, she started
wearing only white, and during the last ten years of her life she didn't
leave the comfort of her home. The last years of Walt Whitman's life
were spent revising and writing poetry. Emily Dickinson stayed very
close to her family, but Walt Whitman traveled and lived alone toward the
end of his life.
The forms that Dickinson and Whitman used are also different because both
used new and innovative ideas in writing their poetry. Walt Whitman used
no real form other than free verse. The characteristics of free verse
are: 1) No rhyme or rhyme scheme, 2) Has a cadence or beat, 3) No set
line length, 4) Has stanzas, but no set stanza length, 5) Uses
repetition.   Whitman's use of free verse marked a break in the syllable-
stress tradition. In his poetry he didn't count the syllables stresses,
or feet, in the long lines of poetry. Whitman used the item of anaphora,
which is the use of repetition at the beginning of back to back verses,
and the repetition of syntactical units.    Walt Whitman was a 20th-
century innovator of poetry because he used nonmetrical prosody. Whitman
got most of the techniques of writing poetry from biblical verses. He
often used parallelism like in the Psalms. Parallelism is the use of
phrases, clauses, or sentences that are similar or complementary in
structure and meaning. Whitman often used regular metrical sequences but
the lines cannot be measured by the graphic method of marking syllables
and feet. The following lines from the poem "Out of the Cradle" should
portray the slow lengthening of lines and the sudden diminution of the
line length. The lines also show the repetition of the word carols and
the alliteration of the s sound. He also used falling rhyme in the words
"lagging," "yellow'" and "waning":
Shake out carols!
Solitary here, the night's carols!
Carols of lonesome love! deaths carols!
Carols under that lagging, yellow, waning moon!
O under that moon where she droops almost down
 into the sea!
O reckless despairing carols.

The following lines from "Beat! Beat! Drums! ," include parallel phrases,
sentence structures
and meaning:
Beat! beat! drums! - blow! bugles! blow!
Make no parely - stop for no expostulation,
Mind not the timid -mind not the weeper or prayer
Mind not the old man beseeching the youngman.

In nearly all of Emily Dickinson's poetry there is the use of quatrains
of three iambic feet, that is four lines of poetry to a stanza, where
each line has an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable,
three times. The early poems by Dickinson are conventional in sentiment
and in form. She used many forms in her poetry, but the forms she used
had a twist from the normal because she would make them more complex and
altered the metrical beat. Dickinson did this to fit her thought.
Dickinson also started the wide use of off-rhyme.
The subjects that Whitman and Dickinson used in their poetry are very
different. There is a big difference because the things that each poet
was interested in. Whitman often wrote about the Civil War. Dickinson
often wrote about death and nature. The punctuation is drastically
different as well. Whitman used mostly traditional punctuation in his
poetry, but in the poem "Beat! Beat! Drums!" he used a big amount of
dashes: "Beat! beat! drums!-blow! bugles! blow! Through the windows-
through the doors-burst like a ruthless force." Dickinson used a form of
punctuation unique to her poetry as well as capitalization. She used
irregular capitalization to emphasize certain words for example, in the
poem "This is My Letter to the World," she capitalized the words, World,
Me, News, Nature, Majesty, Message, Hands, Her, and Sweet. She did this
because those things were important to her.
Walt Whitman's and Emily Dickinson's lives were very different, although
they lived during the same time period. Each poet chose to be around
certain people and things. Those people and things they chose to be
around greatly influenced their poetry. The forms and subjects are
different because they liked writing about things that happened in their
lives. They are both innovators in poetry because they chose to change
common things in writing poetry.

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