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Walt Whitman And Emily Dickinson Were Giants

It is indisputable that both walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson were giants in the annals of American literature owing their amazing accomplishments in poetry composing a lot of poems, focusing on a wide range of themes or templates such as emergent America, its extension, its individualism and its own Americanness, and most importantly, creating the poems in stimulating ways that contain broken the convention of the iambic pentameter and exerted great influences in the next years. Meantime, significant dissimilarities also exist between the two poets. In terms of their backgrounds, themes concentrated and writing techniques and styles, both masters provided their uniqueness respectively.


Walt Whitman came from a working-class family with eight siblings and the family could hardly support his access to higher education. As a result, he had to start his experienced life at an extremely early get older. At the age of eleven, after his five-years formal schooling, he began to work to earn money for his family. In a word Whitman did not acquire much education and his study was almost on his own. After his first job, Whitman did the trick as an office guy, a printers apprentice, schoolmaster, printing device, editor and journalist. Successively, he connection with different levels and various things therefore gained a thorough understanding of life and the country, which laid a solid basis for his creation of poetry.

Emily Dickenson, on the other hand, grew up in a fairly prominent category of Amherst and was well educated. Being rooted in the puritanical Massachusetts of the 1800s, the Dickinson children were increased in the Christian tradition, and they were expected to take up their fathers spiritual beliefs and ideals without argument. Later in life, Emily would come to concern these conventional spiritual viewpoints of her dad and the chapel, and the troubles she fulfilled with would later donate to the effectiveness of her poetry. Additionally, unlike Whitman, she led a quite real, to some degree, secluded life, withdrawing herself from modern culture and diving in to the study of the Bible, traditional mythology, and Shakespeare, which allowed her to focus on her world more sharply and find a whole new understanding and vision for the easiest things in her daily life.

Hence it is comprehensible why Whitman often shown a national view in his poetry, demonstrating his concerns on the common people and his country and Emily Dickinson, would dwell on comparatively narrow aspects, specifically, the inner life of the individual.


Besides their different backgrounds, exposure to different influences and different personalities also led to their uniqueness in poetry creation.

Possessing a good way of thinking, Whitman often constructed in a cheerful firmness, singing for democracy and liberty and with great objectives and enthusiasm for new things and a fresh epoch. Dickinson, shy, very sensitive, sometimes rebellious, however, would share herself in a tragic tone, creating a relatively pessimistic atmosphere.

Subject to various affects such as The Enlightenment and its own ideals of the privileges and dignity of the individual and Transcendentalism and its tenets of believing in living close to nature, instructing the dignity of manual labour, advocating self-trust, valuing individuality and self-reliance, Walt Whitman, poet of the normal people and prophet and vocalist of democracy, would usually show an enthusiastic eye on man and characteristics. He extols the ideals of equality and democracy and celebrates the dignity, the self-reliant heart and the pleasure of the common man. Sounds of Myself, an extremely representative poem from Leaves of Grass, Whitmans masterpiece, illustrates very well Whitmans thoughts. Entitled as song of myself though, it is more a track of all the human beings, of any vivacious lifetime in the world, not restricted to the historical Walt Whitman only. By displaying various people, man and female, whoever has a good job such being the president or not as being as prostitute, Whitman sincerely sang reward for the equality and democracy among humans; by beautifying the family pets, for instance, the outrageous gander leading his flock through the cold night, Whitman revealed his respect for pets and indicated the equality between human beings and pets or animals, and his songs of characteristics, to a large extent, the music of the complete universe.

Distinct from the grandness of significant issues like patriotism in Whitmans poems, Dickinsons poems appear more local and individual, mainly dwelling on issues of the average person world. Natural phenomena, changes of periods, heavenly bodies, family pets, birds and bugs, flowers of varied kinds are often the content of her poetry; fatality, love, friendship, characteristics and immortality will be the recurrent themes. For instance, in THAT IS My Notice to the globe, she implicitly expressed her loneliness and disappointment of not being recognised, yearning for someone to know her, grasp her and recognise her. It is simple to realize that most of Dickinsons poetry is more a natural move of personal sense and experience far from society, many of which partially resulted from her reclusive life and solitude and which can't be separated from the spiritual influences she received during youth and adolescence. Calvinism using its doctrine of predestination and its own pessimism pressured her and colored her work so that her basic firmness was tragic. In conjunction with her repeated witnessing of deaths of several friends, especially the bereavement of her tutors, Benjamin Newton and Charles Wadsworth, the repressive dogma made death a main theme of Dickinsons poetry, confronting which Dickinson could still respond with poise and on which she could surprisingly exert serious pondering. For Dickinson, fatality brings about immortality; it is not to be feared but an all natural part of the endless group of nature. This is reflected in one of her poems, Because I possibly could not stop for Loss of life. In such a poem, she dreamed enough time when she passed away: He kindly quit for me, indicating that death was not terrible on her behalf. We gradually drove He realized no haste, exhibiting her peaceful and relaxed mindset towards loss of life. Actually, in the first stanza, The Carriage kept but just ourselves And immortality, has already told her frame of mind towards death; together with death, there came immortality. The evaluation between your transience of mans life and the eternity of God in the last stanza also revealed that she savored the loss of life.

Just judging from the measures of Whitmans and Dickinsons poems, we can already inform the difference with their styles. By far the most conspicuous differences between the two poets rest in their special techniques.

The most distinctive characteristics of Whitmans poetry will be the use of repetition, parallelism, rhetorical mannerisms, the adoption of the natural cadences of talk in poetry, and the job of the phrases rather than the nice as a unit of rhythm. Most notably, to comprehensively point out himself, Whitman broke the conventional poetic form and extensively used free verse in his poems. Disobeying the iambic pentameter form, her attempted to approximate the natural cadences of talk in his poetry, carefully differing the distance of his lines according to his designed emphasis while guaranteeing every part of life could speak without restraint. In I Hear American performing, there will be the paralleling singings of a multitude of people ranging from the carpenter, the mason, the boatman, the shoemaker, the wood-cutter, the plough boy, the mom to the young wife; in O Captain! My Captain!, there are the repetitions of ЇїЅO Captain! My Captain!ЇїЅ, ЇїЅon the deck my Captain isЇїЅ and ЇїЅFallen cool and deceasedЇїЅ which strongly suggest WhitmanЇїЅs deep love for Lincoln and needy sorrow for his fatality.

Dickinson, however, was well-known for her startling and original diction. Her poems, terse, simple and direct, designated with her style of no title, capitalised words, dashes to make cadence, images and symbols, establish her as one of AmericaЇїЅs great lyric poets. ЇїЅHer gemlike poems are short, fresh and original, designated by the vigor of her images, the daring of her thought and beauty of her expression. ЇїЅ Simple and even uncommon as some of her words are, they may be thought-provoking and of fundamental meanings. In Because I could not stop for Loss of life, she personified fatality as a carriage-driver, compared the trip to death as venturing by carriage and likened ЇїЅchildrenЇїЅ, ЇїЅthe Fields of Gazing GrainЇїЅ and ЇїЅthe Setting up SunЇїЅ to child years, adulthood and old age respectively, thus showing her emotions towards death in a vivid and expressive way.


In bottom line, while Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson both commenced a fresh era in American books, they varied from each other in diverse ways. Whitman was an integral part of the changeover between transcendentalism and realism, making use of both views in his works which is often called the father of free verse; whereas, Emily Dickinson, adept at employing images in her poetry, greatly affected further Imagists such as Ezra Pound and Amy Lowell, and became, with Stephen Crane, the precursor of the Imagist movement. Inside the development of American literature, they both made essential contributions.

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