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O Captain My Captain

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by

Henry Truong

on 22 January 2013

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Transcript of O Captain My Captain

Presentation by Henry Type of Poem Poem Characteristics? What is this poem about? O Captain My Captain by Walt Whitman is an elegy to the assassinated american president Abraham Lincoln. It is an elegy because the poem shows grief and remorse for the fallen captain.
The poem's rhyme scheme is an AABBCDED pattern. This poem displays literary devices such as Onomatopoeia, repetition, heavy use of metaphors, and apostrophe. Walt Whitman was born on the 31st of may, 1819, in Long Island, New York. His life's work, Leaves of Grass, made him one of the first American poets to be famous world wide. Whitman spent most of his young life in Brooklyn, where he worked as a printer and newspaper journalist through the 1850s. The first edition of Leaves of Grass was privately printed in 1855 and consisted of 12 untitled poems, one of which was to later become famous as "Song of Myself." His literary style was experimental, he expressed nature, and self that has since been described as the first expression of a distinctly American voice. This poem is about the death of the president, Abraham Lincoln. This poem is about the respect the people held for him, the grief they had as they mourned for him, and this poem tells the reader a little bit of why they shred these feelings for the president. O Captain My Captain, by Walt Whitman Author - Walt Whitman The Poem What was this poem about again? If you've had already forgotten, then the purpose of this poem was to portrait the respect and grief the people had for the president and tells us a bit of why the deeply respected Abraham Lincoln. Respect The "captain," the metaphor replacement for Lincoln was shown respect as,
"The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting/ While following eyes steady keel, the vessel grim and daring" (3-4)
The people have gathered onto the port awaiting for the captain's ship to return from it's "fearful trip." (the civil war)
This is a joyous moment as, "The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;"(2) The "prize is the peace, the ship is America, and the obstacles was the civil war.
"For they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;"(12)
The crowd awaits for their fearless leader who will never greet them.
Setting up and preparing for such a celebration is not something people would do for anybody. These are things they are doing for someone admirable and well respected. Grief The captain, "Fallen cold and dead." (8) Turns the poem into a lament, showing a passionate expression of grief.
"rise up and hear the bells;/ Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills;" (9-10)
The bells and flag is a symbol of respect and is used in moments of victory but, it is also used in funerals.
"For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowinding;"(11)
Even though bouquets and ribbon wreaths are used in celebrations, these are also used in funerals. These actions, and objects, ringing bells, waving flags, bouquets and wreaths, are used in celebrations but are also used in funerals which brings an ironic twist as their initial intentions of being used, as a symbol of celebration, can be used for the other meaning of a symbol of grief.
This is why this poem is an elegy as it laments the author's sorrow. Why all this for one man? Now, why would so many grieve for this one president, after all, they can always appoint another, but the things Lincoln has done for the country has cause the people to not only see him as a "captain," a figure of authority but also as a "father." One thing we can see in the poem that suggest a reason of great admiration, "The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;" (2) The ship is America itself, and the obstacles was the Civil War. Since Lincoln was the "captain" in the poem, then he was the one who guided the "ship" to safety, and ended the "fearful trip" (1) Which was the civil war campaign. President Abraham Lincoln was a great leader to the Americans during the civil war, that it is no wonder they would respect him and deeply grieve for his departure. Bibliography Image: http://www.walnutstreettheatre.org/season/images/is3-ocaptain.gif
Walt: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/126 http://www.poemhunter.com/walt-whitman/
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSAymj4hp7 Y Unfortunately, the supposedly joyous moment turns sour as the captain falls at the moment of victory. So far, we have taken a look at how the author felt about the presidents death, but now we should look and why he feels so strongly over the death of Lincoln. Conclusion In conclusion, Walt's poem was about grieving and respecting the president. This elegy portrait the respect Americans held for Lincoln, as the crowd eagerly awaiting a captain returning from a harsh voyage. Grief was used as the ship mate referred to the captain as not only his superior but looked but to him as a father.
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