preview

The Theme Of Life After Death In Walt Whitman And Emily Dickinson

Decent Essays
Death acts as one of the universe’s greatest mysteries. Some believe that once one is dead, that’s it, while others believe that one’s soul will either flourish in Heaven or suffer in Hell. While the world may never fully come to know what is postmortem, various American poets, such as Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, have come to embrace this mystery. Throughout Whitman and Dickinson’s works, they both develop a range of eclectic ideas revolving around the circle of life to compose and define American poetry. The question and answer of where one’s soul goes after death is a detailed one. Whitman embraces death as new stage for one’s soul to experience, rather than the cessation of one’s life. In Whitman’s “Song Of Myself”, he believes that once he dies, others can:
. . . look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good help to you nevertheless
And filter and fiber your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you. (Whitman.1067)
Whitman demonstrates that his soul with travel throughout the earth and into the ground. We will walk on him because not only will he be in the ground, but the earth and our boot soles are made up of decomposed materials. Everything is composed of everything, so nothing truly ever dies. Whitman is still living, but in a different form. By following this idea of death, the cycle of life becomes less unnerving.
Get Access