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Walt Whitman

On the Beach Night

Molly Uyeda

on 16 May 2011

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Transcript of Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) Walter Whitman was born on May 31, 1819 in Long Island, New York. He was born into a family of nine children and immediately was given the nickname Walt. He was a well educated man working in many fields throughout his career. Walt Whitman is best known as an American Poet, but has also held the occupation of a journalist, a teacher, a clerk, and a nurse on the battlefield during the American Civil War.

Early in his life, Whitman achieved the title of editor of Long-island Star, a popular weekly newspaper. Before this career Whitman hopped job to job, disliking any of the ones that involved teaching. Learning the ropes of printing and publishing, Whitman decided to leave and found his own newspaper company, the Long Islander.

In 1855, Walter Whitman published Leaves of Grass, his most well known contribution to writing. He compiled a collection of poems from as early as 1850 and printed 795 copies with his own money. When published, this book was criticized for his profane and obscene content. This did not bother Whitman, because Bronson Alcott, Henry Thoreau, and other famed authors admired his work. On the beach at night,
Stands a child with her father,
Watching the east, the autumn sky.

Up through the darkness,
While ravening clouds, the burial clouds, in black masses spreading,
Lower sullen and fast athwart and down the sky,
Amid a transparent clear belt of ether yet left in the east,
Ascends large and calm the lord-star Jupiter,
And nigh at hand, only a very little above,
Swim the delicate sisters the Pleiades.

From the beach the child holding the hand of her father,
Those burial-clouds that lower victorious soon to devour all,
Watching, silently weeps.

Weep not, child,
Weep not, my darling,
With these kisses let me remove your tears,
The ravening clouds shall not long be victorious,
They shall not long possess the sky, they devour the stars only in apparition,
Jupiter shall emerge, be patient, watch again another night, the Pleiades shall emerge,
They are immortal, all those stars both silvery and golden shall shine out again,
The great stars and the little ones shall shine out again, they endure,
The vast immortal suns and the long-enduring pensive moons shall again shine.

Then dearest child mournest thou only for Jupiter?
Considerest thou alone the burial of the stars?

Something there is,
(With my lips soothing thee, adding I whisper,
I give thee the first suggestion, the problem and indirection,)
Something there is more immortal even than the stars,
(Many the burials, many the days and nights, passing away,)
Something that shall endure longer even than lustrous Jupiter
Longer than sun or any revolving satellite,
Or the radiant sisters the Pleiades. end stopped: a line with a pause at the end. Lines that end with a period, a comma, a colon, a semicolon, an exclamation point, or a question mark are end-stopped lines.

Dr. Seuss’s poem “Cat in the Hat”uses end-stopped too,

"Then our mother came in
And she said to us two,
'Did you have any fun?
Tell me. What did
you do?" When we initially read the poem, we got the idea that someone had died. The use of words like alone, tears, and weep appeared as if the father and daughter were mourning over a death of a loved one after attending a funeral. Besides the diction, the use of imagery such as the excerpt “...Up through the darkness, While ravening clouds, the burial clouds, in black masses spreading...” further implies the serious and sad tone. We still believe that death is a true aspect of the poem, however, since the setting is placed at the beach, we deducted that they were releasing the ashes into the wind and reflecting on the situation. stanza symbol personification On the Beach at Night symbolism organization theme meaning

While the literal meaning is dealing with death, the constant theme is that even though someone dies, his or her memory lives on forever. Whitman frequently recycles words such as burial and immortal. The words have such opposite meanings, and because of that, they both contrast each other, thus making them equally important. This becomes relevant at the end because he concludes with connecting the situation by writing, “Something there is more immortal even than the stars,...Something that shall endure longer even than lustrous Jupiter.” The very act of remembering someone is so powerful that even the lives of stars or planets cannot compare. The characters in this poem emphasis the story and theme dramatically. We believe that the young child and the father represent two opposites in this poem, yet they are both connected with symbolism. The young child represents insecurity and uncertainty, while the father shows hope and guidance. They are holding hands in the poem and we believe that they represent both the positives and the negatives when someone close passes away. The deeper meaning of these characters adds to the gloomy tone established in this piece. The way the poem is organized makes reading it feel like a story. It is split up into 6 paragraph like sections. The first paragraph is an introduction; it explains who, what, where, when. The second paragraph is more abstract and answers the question why. The third paragraph is a combination of the first and second paragraph because it includes straightforward information and figurative details. In addition, the climax occurs. The fifth paragraph includes two rhetorical questions that connect all the given information. Finally, the sixth paragraph concludes what happened and also leaves the reader with some freedom to interpret the situation. We found Whitman’s way of organizing poems was easy to follow because the storyline was constantly moving forward. At the sunny park,
Jumps the birthday girl with a smile,
Seeing the ribbons, the unopened gift.

Throughout the crowd,
While sparkling eyes, infinite smiles, laughter spreading,
joyous emotions become contagious.

From the park the girl smothering the box of pinks,
Those infinite smiles that escape show love to all,
Giving, graciously giggles.

Giggle, girl,
Giggle, my baby,
With these scissors let me unlock your wishes,
The sparkling eyes, shall long be loved,
They shall not long forget, they
Joy will be revealed, be grateful, appreciate it everyday, the message will be revealed,
They are temporary, all the materials shall dull over time,
The big ones and the small ones shall dull over time, never lasting.

Then Birthday girl will you smile only for the crowd? At the Park
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