Essay on Walt Whitman's Use of the Theme of Death in His Poetry

742 Words 3 Pages
Walt Whitman's Use of the Theme of Death in His Poetry

Walt Whitman uses the theme of death in his poetry. Whitman's use of death is unlike any other poets. He draws upon his own experiences with death and this makes his poetry real. Whitman spent time as a wound-dresser during the Civil War. During this time, Whitman learned and saw so much. The death that he saw during this time provided him with inspiration in his poetry and ideas and thoughts about death. Throughout Whitman's poetry, the reader can witness his own feelings of death changing and evolving. In "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" Whitman uses one of his other major themes, nature, and relates it to death. He is beginning to understand death and come
…show more content…
In this passage Whitman is describing the death he saw while he was taking care of the fallen soldiers. He was very close to the soldiers and would sooth them and take care of them while they were basically dying. In doing this, he was very close to many of the dying soldiers. Throughout the rest of the poem the reader gets the sense that Whitman felt he was in the battlefield too. This is because the poet was so close to the fallen men, he felt he was fighting the battle also and he conveys this to the reader. Whitman's feeling about the soldiers can be seen by looking at "The Wound-Dresser." In lines 37-38 Whitman writes, "I never knew you / Yet I think I could not refuse this moment to die for you, if that would save you." In this passage Whitman is showing the reader how he feels about not only the soldiers but also death. In this point in his life, Whitman has finally come to terms with death. He is willing to die for the soldiers, people he only knows as soldiers, not personal friends. It appears to the reader that Whitman looks at death as a good thing. As almost a relief. This assumption can be confirmed by looking at the poem "Song of Myself." In line 130 Whitman wrote "And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier." This shows that Whitman believes that death is a good thing. That someone is lucky to die. He is saying that death
Open Document