Analysis of the Imagery Used in William Cullen Bryant's 'To a Waterfowl'

650 Words Jan 9th, 2018 3 Pages
However, the waterfowl the poet describes is not just a metaphor for spiritual life. Instead, Bryant uses the imagery of the waterfowl to show that nature is an extension or expression of God's power on earth. Bryant's spiritual beliefs are also reflected in his poem "Thanatopsis." In "Thanatopsis," uses even more overtly religious symbolism, diction, an imagery. Both "To a Waterfowl" and "Thanatopsis" underscore the importance of the Puritanical worldview in American culture.
"To a Waterfowl" does use diction that is purely spiritual in tone. For example, in lines 13 and 14, Bryant writes, "There is a Power whose care / Teaches thy way along the pathless coast." These lines show that Bryant views God as possessing absolute power over the whole of physical creation. Power is capitalized, which shows that the poet is referring to deity. The word "care" connotes a caring, loving God rather than one who is disengaged from the world. God "teaches" all creatures, including waterfowl "thy way." This line is important in that it shows that the Puritanical Christian worldview imagines that even animals can be "taught" by God. The poet watches the waterfowl walking, as if it knows exactly where it is going. The only way a bird could know where it was going, according to Bryant, is if God inspired it somehow.
Throughout "To a Waterfowl," Bryant observes the wonders of natural rhythms like those…
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