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Walt Whitman Poetry Analysis

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by

Narin Narula

on 21 May 2013

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Transcript of Walt Whitman Poetry Analysis

"When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer
+
Good-bye My Fancy! Poetry Analysis When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer Deep Analysis (Lines 5 - 6) Good-bye my Fancy!
Farewell dear mate, dear love!
I'm going away, I know not where,
Or to what fortune, or whether I may ever see you again,
So Good-bye my Fancy.
Now for my last--let me look back a moment;
The slower fainter ticking of the clock is in me,
Exit, nightfall, and soon the heart-thud stopping.
Long have we lived, joy'd, caress'd together;
Delightful!--now separation--Good-bye my Fancy.
Yet let me not be too hasty,
Long indeed have we lived, slept, filter'd, become really blended
into one;
Then if we die we die together, (yes, we'll remain one,)
If we go anywhere we'll go together to meet what happens,
May-be we'll be better off and blither, and learn something,
May-be it is yourself now really ushering me to the true songs, (who
knows?)
May-be it is you the mortal knob really undoing, turning--so now finally,
Good-bye--and hail! my Fancy. When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars Deep Analysis (Lines 1 - 2) “When I heard the learn’d astronomer;”
- Walt talks about the time the person speaking (or himself) listens to an experienced astronomer speak.
- He uses a technique used in Shakespeare language by changing the word “learned” to “learn’d” making it a syllable long.

“When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;”
- He elaborates on what has happened once hearing the astronomer. It sounds like he’s the only one in the room along with the astronomer.
- He doesn’t mention what is being proved. “How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick.”
- The writer express his impatience as the lecture goes on.
- The “flu” is a hyperbolical metaphor showing his boredom during the lecture. It is an exaggeration to say that he is sick as if the lecture is have actually led to physically illness.

“Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,”
- The writer leaves the room
- “rising and gliding” gives a graceful feel like a ballet dancer leaving the room. Good-bye My Fancy! g Walt Whitman Deep Analysis (Lines 3-4) “When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;”
- He seems confused about what he’s writing about, since he’s giving out quite random information.
“When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, when he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room”
- The scene is still setting, as he finally reveals that he is in a lecture-room.
- He must be really smart because he is giving a lecture in the lecture-room. Deep Analysis (Lines 7-8) “In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,”- “moist” gives a feel of dew or humidity which sounds like a warm summer night.
- “mystical” can be defined as unified with God or nature. This shows how the night is magical and is the opposite what it was like in the lecture room.“Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.”
- “silence” shows how the writer doesn’t care about the equations or math of the stars but the beauty of them.- Again he makes the word “looked” into “look’d” Themes in the Poem Wisdom vs. Knowledge
Knowledge is gained through education and wisdom is gained through experience.

Isolation
In the room where there was a lot of people, he felt lonely. But when he went out, he felt accompanied. Questions! 1. What other themes can you think of to sum up the poem with?

2. What do you think the point of writing this poem was? Introduction Whitman is saying goodbye to his audience.
- He knows he will soon pass away
- Accepting his fate Good-bye my Fancy!
Farewell dear mate, dear love!
I’m going away, I know not where,
Or to what fortune, or whether I may ever see you again, Lines 1-4 Analysis - Starts the poem by saying he doesn’t know how much longer he can live or where he will be next.
- Cheerful words like “fancy” or “dear” shows that Whitman is not concerned.
- Addressing the audience as his love to enhance the intimacy of the poem Lines 5-8 Analysis So Good-bye my Fancy.
Now for my last—let me look back a moment;
The slower fainter ticking of the clock in in me
Exit, nightfall, and soon the heart-thud stopping - Poem beings to becomes emotional
- Emphasizes on the little time he has left
- He can feel his death coming soon Lines 9-13 Analysis Long have we lived, joy’d, caress’d together;
Delightful! - - now separation - - Good-bye my Fancy.
Yet let me not be too hasty,
Long have we lived, slept, filter'd become really
blended into one; - He addresses the good times he had with his readers
- He admires the relationship between him and his readers but he knows it is time to move on Lines 14-15 Analysis Then if we die we die together, (yes, we’ll remain one,)
If we go anywhere we’ll be better off and blither, and learn something, Whitman connects with the reader saying that they are one
He doesn’t want his “lover” to feel like he is trying to leave quickly
Reminds the “lover” how much time they spend together “blending into one”
Basically, Whitman wants his reader to continue to learn from him and be inspired by him after this death Lines 16-20 Analysis May-be it is yourself now really ushering me
to the true songs (who knows?)
May-be it is you the mortal knob really undoing, turning
- so now finally,
Good-bye-and hail! My fancy! Whitman says that he wants the reader to continue where he left off
“mortal knobs” symbolizes his readers as it is love that opens the door to his death
He says his final goodbye and hails his fancy Conclusion - Whitman becomes “softer” compared to his other poems that emphasizes on his wisdom and his greatness
- He seems to be relaxed and at peace while saying goodbye
- This poems ends Whitman’s legacy with dignity and pride Richie & Narin May 31, 1819 - March 26, 1892
American Poet, Essayist, and Journalist
Called "Bard of Democracy"
Last poem/prose to be written was
"Goodbye my Fancy" The Father of Freeverse! W
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N Questions! 1. Which literary devices stand out the most to you?

2. What distinguishes both poems from one another? What makes them unique? Literary Analysis Repetition of Structure --
The proofs, the figures (Line 2)
The charts and diagrams (Line 3)
Add, divide, and measure (Line 3)
Tired and Sick (Line 5)
Rising and Gliding (Line 6)

Repetition of Words (Anaphora) --
First 4 lines started with "When"

Repetition of Similar Sounds --
heard, learn'd, heard, lectured, lecture, perfect
room, soon
rising, gliding, time, time, time, silence

Metaphor --
Gliding Out (Line 6)

Alliteration --
Mystical Moist (Line 7)
When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars FREE VERSE POEM! Lines 1-4
What We Noticed:
- As the poem progressed to the next line (from 1-4) the lines kept getting longer *syllable count* 9
14

17

23 Literary Analysis Good-bye my Fancy!
Farewell dear mate, dear love!
I'm going away, I know not where,
Or to what fortune, or whether I may ever see you again,
So Good-bye my Fancy.

Now for my last--let me look back a moment;
The slower fainter ticking of the clock is in me,
Exit, nightfall, and soon the heart-thud stopping.
Long have we lived, joy'd, caress'd together;
Delightful!--now separation--Good-bye my Fancy.

Yet let me not be too hasty,
Long indeed have we lived, slept, filter'd, become really blended into one;
Then if we die we die together, (yes, we'll remain one,)
If we go anywhere we'll go together to meet what happens,
May-be we'll be better off and blither, and learn something,
May-be it is yourself now really ushering me to the true songs, (who knows?)
May-be it is you the mortal knob really undoing, turning--so now finally,
Good-bye--and hail! my Fancy.
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