Essay Compare And Contrast Two Poems By Emily Dickinson

Comparing Walt Whitman And Emily Dickinson

Comparing Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson


The lives of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson have many similarities and differences. Here, we will focus on the similarities in their lives in order to bring to attention a correlation between Whitman's poem I Saw in Louisiana a Live-oak Growing and Dickinson's poem # 1510. Both poets wrote during the time of Romanticism, even though Whitman was Dickinson's senior by some eleven years. This however did not influence the way the writing styles of many of their poems coincided.
Loneliness was an important characteristic of both poet's lives during the writing years. Whitman, whose sexuality has been questioned, was never one for social interaction. Much of his time was spent writing or editing newspapers such as the Long Island Star and the Brooklyn Daily Times (Whitman XV). Dickinson, whose life was similar to Whitman's in a social sense, lived in a different atmosphere. Emily lived in Amherst which was a far cry from the hustle an bustle of Whitman's life in cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and New Orleans. She never married, living alone in her home for the majority of her life (Dickinson 128). The loneliness, along with the inspiration from nature (a major characteristic of Romantic writing), are two things that can be seen in the two poems that we are about to take an in depth look at. In addition to these items we can also see a possible attempt by Whitman and Dickinson to keep their real life away from public view (even though they were not immediately published), instead making their lives seem joyous.
We will first look at Walt Whitman's poem I Saw in Louisiana a Live-oak Growing. In the second line, Whitman sets the tone of loneliness by describing the tree standing all alone. However, in the next line he continues by saying that the tree is able to grow joyous leaves despite the fact that it does not have a companion. Many people believe that this mimics Whitman's life. Living in a life of social separation much of the time, he still managed to succeed not only with his writing, but also in life itself. However, in line five Whitman goes on to say that he wonders how the tree could grow such joyous leaves while being alone. He himself says that he could not survive if put in the same situation. Whitman did however lead a joyous and happy life in many peoples opinion, even though he did not enjoy the social life many other had during his lifetime. His own opinion of himself not being lonely may be frayed in order to spare the image he proposes to the public in his writings. The next few lines are interesting because of the way they could possible spell out Whitman's life. In the poem, he breaks of a twig, wraps some moss around it, and takes it to he room and places it in plain view. This may...

Loading: Checking Spelling

0%

Read more

This essay compares Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson in their style of writing as well as their lives and the subjects of their poems.

711 words - 3 pages Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson wrote in the same time period but their writing was very different from each other. Though they are both transcendentalists, or at least their writing seems to be, they have very different styles of writing. They are both...

Comparing Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson

1088 words - 4 pages Comparing Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson as Poets Often, the poets Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson try to convey the themes of the meaning of nature, or that of death and loneliness.  Although they were born more than fifty years apart their poetry is similar in many ways.  Both poets talk about the power of nature, death and loneliness.  However, Dickinson and Frost are not similar in all poetic aspects.  In fact, they differ greatly in...

This is essay is comparing and contrasting I, too sing america by langston hughes and i hear america singing by walt whitman.

709 words - 3 pages Essay: Write a two-page essay in which you compare any two out of the four Walt Whitman and Langston Huges poems. What do they have in common? How are they different? Use specific examples from the text to prove your point.Poems: I, too, sing America by...

Dickinson and whitman

1490 words - 6 pages Dickinson and Whitman Research PaperWalt Whitman and Emily Dickinson are probably two of the most influential people in American poetry. They are regarded as the founders of modern American poetry. Emily Dickinson and Walt...

Imagery and Walt Whitman

1656 words - 7 pages Upon the PedestalWalt Whitman was born May 31, 1819 to a Quaker family, but his background and religious upbringing did not define the many achievements that he accomplished during his lifetime. Whitman was an American poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist whose poetry is immortalized because of the greatness embodies it. Whitman's work was unique for the...

Walt Whitman and Transcendentalism

2043 words - 8 pages Walt Whitman: Transcendentalism      By the late 19th century, Walt Whitman had become positioned at the forefront of the American cultural lexicon. His poetry was at once brash, dissonant and resoundingly erotic. His raw, unabashed poetry flew in the face of the prevailing ideals of his time. Whitman's greatest literary accomplishment, Leaves of Grass, had set the ideas of divinity, the hierarchy of the holy trinity,...

Walt Whitman Life and Poetry

2041 words - 8 pages Rebecca GreenMs. HughesHonors English II27 / 03 / 2014Walt Whitman: One of America's Greatest PoetsThe poet I chose to research was Walt Whitman, one of America's greatest poets. The three poems I chose were "Beat! Beat! Drums!" "O'Captain! My Captain!", and "

Love and Emily Dickinson

3512 words - 14 pages Love and Emily Dickinson I am going out on the doorstep, to get you some new—green grass—I shall pick it down in the corner, where you and I used to sit, and have long fancies. And perhaps the dear little grasses were growing all the while—and perhaps they heard what we said, but they can't tell! – Emily Dickinson to Susan Gilbert Dickinson (L 85, 1852) Seventy-five years after the 1890s publication of the premier volumes of...

Critical Comparisons Between Whitman And Dickinson

1071 words - 4 pages Critical Comparisons Between Whitman And DickinsonGodey's Magazine, November, 1896, printed: "[Emily Dickinson] and Walt Whitman and Poe are this nation's most original contributions to the world's poetry. Poe was typical only to Poe. But Emily Dickinson and Whitman, with their unbending comradery with God and humanity, are our best realizations of the...

A Collation of Whitman and Dickinson:

1533 words - 6 pages Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson have often been contrasted in literary criticism. Both poets are credited with an expansive body of work that is both ambitious and provocative. Dickinson has been characterized as the aristocracy to Whitman's democracy, the seclusion to his crowd, her doubt opposite his certainty. (Sherman3) Dickinson may be more complicated and aware...

Dickinson vs. Whitman. Their lives and their styles

1202 words - 5 pages After receiving five years of schooling, Walt Whitman spent four years learning the printing trade; Emily Dickinson returned home after receiving schooling to be with her family and never really had a job. Walt Whitman spent most of his time observing people and New York City. Dickinson rarely left her house and she didn't associate with many people other than her family. In this essay I will be comparing Emily Dickinson and Walt...

In accord with the first post, there is a clear difference in tone between the two poems.  For one thing, the introduction of the fly suggests Beelzebub, the "lord of the flies," or the devil.  This symbol of evil stumbling "Between the light and me" suggests that there is a point in which the soul of the speaker "could not see to see" where she is headed in eternity, whereas in "Because I could not stop for...

In accord with the first post, there is a clear difference in tone between the two poems.  For one thing, the introduction of the fly suggests Beelzebub, the "lord of the flies," or the devil.  This symbol of evil stumbling "Between the light and me" suggests that there is a point in which the soul of the speaker "could not see to see" where she is headed in eternity, whereas in "Because I could not stop for Death," the driver of the carriage that takes the speaker to her grave is "kindly" and "knows no haste"; the death holds no terrors as in the other poem; in fact, it is almost seductive. 

In addition to the tone of the poems, you may wish to compare/contrast the sequence of events and poetic devices in the poems, the sort of expectations set up by phrases such as "last onset," "the king" and "be witnessed" in "I heard a fly buzz" with the phrases in "Because I could not stop for Death" such as those in the first stanza, "We passed the setting sun/Or rather, he passed us," and others that indicate a more leisurely trip toward eternity, whereas in "I heard a fly buzz," the predatory fly waits to claim a corpse. 

Yet, characteristically of Dickinson, there is no enlightenment at the end of either poem.  The speaker is driven, albeit leisurely, inexorably to her grave; the king witnesses the death, but he cannot control anything but the allocations of the speaker's material possessions.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *