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Walt Whitman And Emily Dickinson

Good Essays
Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson are two of the most read and influential poets of the nineteenth century. Both use nature symbols and metaphors to explain motifs of the human soul. However, they differ in their conclusions. Whitman prefers a crowd, or a common human experience, while Dickinson cherishes solitude and independence. Through the first five lines of Whitman’s poem, Song of Myself, and through Dickinson’s poem 409, or The Soul Selects Her Own Society, the differences in these two poet’s assertions of the soul and society, and ultimately their views on public and private life stemming from their own experiences is apparent through their connections to nature. In Song of Myself, Whitman writes “I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease…” (lines 4-5, 25) in which the use of the word “loaf” implies that Whitman is accepting of himself and accepting of his own ease and leisure. This is paralleled to Whitman’s first reference to nature, the “summer grass” (line 5), in which he and his soul are “observing a spear of summer grass.” To Whitman, the grass is a symbol for the simplicity of both the concept of self and the connection of the grass to all other parts of nature. Grass is the most simple plant form and is present in all parts of the world. It is universally accepted and is not questioned. While Whitman and his soul are observing this basic plant, it is as if he and his soul are also transparent. One would not seek to change grass, and Whitman does
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