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"On the Beach at Night Alone" by Walt Whitman Analysis

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Ashlianne Bokor

on 9 March 2016

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Transcript of "On the Beach at Night Alone" by Walt Whitman Analysis

thesis
In Walt Whitman's poem, "On the Beach at Night Alone," he illuminates how despite the individualities of the different parts of the universe, the similarities that span them are stronger and seek to unite them.
mundane individuality
"husky song" (Whitman 2)
"clef of the universe" (Whitman 3)

the word choice of song and clef, both being musical terms, connect the universe and the individual
calling her song husky gives a unique characteristic to her and distinguishes her from the universe, creating a clear image of being something set apart from the extraordinary heavens
mundane individuality
"bright stars shining" (Whitman 3)

the imagery of the vast amount of stars amplifies the narrator as an individual in comparison to the multitude in his view
the bright light of the stars enlightens the narrator because the light illuminates the sky as it does the dark recesses of his mind
expansive harmonies
the poem's second sentence

infinite possibilities of the universe shown by sentence length
symmetrical phrasing shows coordination
expansive harmonies
"interlocks all" (Whitman 4)

author portrays philosophical tone as he conjectures about the universe
he studies the entire cosmos as a uniting entity, further perpetuating his comparison between the universe and the individual

"On the beach at night alone"

expansive harmonies
"this vast similitude...shall...compactly hold and enclose them" (Whitman 13-14)

this personifies the universe as a being that actively ties its many parts together despite its differences
similarities unite the infinitely expanding universe into one tightly knit entity
theme statement
Despite the individualites of the different parts of the universe, the similarities that span them are stronger and seek to unite them.
romantic element
"I think a thought of the clef of the universes, and of the future" (Whitman 3)

Predominant element: Interest in the supernatural, the unknown. The romantic saw mystery in the universe and used dreams and myths in his writing.

The purpose of Whitman's poem was to evaluate the universe and its disjointed yet overall interlocked nature. This theme is an example of the curiosity in romantic literature about the supernatural and the mysteries of the universe.

Ashlianne bokor and bailey grams
Full transcript