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Walt Whitman

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Olivia M

on 14 March 2014

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Transcript of Walt Whitman

Personal Life
Walt Whitman
O Captain! My Captain! (1865)
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174742
First Stanza
Walt Whitman
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O Captain! My Captain!
Walt Whitman
Born May 31, 1819
Died March 26, 1892
Began his career writing newspapers in New York
Became a volunteer nurse during the Civil War
Was rumored to be either gay or bisexual
Continued work for government after war
Writing
Writing identified as patriotic and often sexual
Most famous work is
Leaves of Grass
, which was very controversial at the time
Wrote openly about topics such as death, sexuality and prostitution
Believed in a symbiotic relationship between poetry and society
Allegory
: the entire poem is an extended metaphor
Ship = the country, captain = Abraham Lincoln, storm = Civil War
Apostrophe
: appeal to the dead captain
Some guy with an intense sense of patriotism
= Union's awe of Lincoln
Literally: a ship successfully completes a perilous voyage, and the captain has died
Elegy/"Dirge"
Alternating- dichotomy between vibrant celebration and somber mourning
Believed in God, but skeptical about religion



O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
O Captain! My Captain! (1865)
Meter
Sound
Devices
Themes
Interpretation
Iambic:
"The
port
is
near
, the
bells
I
hear
"
Alliteration
"for you the flag is flung"
Patriotism
Sacrifice
Speaker
Event
Form
Tone
Poetic
Devices
Conflicting emotion at end of Civil War- historical context
Role of a leader
Private vs. public suffering
Full transcript