Term Paper: Walt Whitman, American Author

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[. . .] Then, the long verses end the sequence of thought instead of reducing them short, specifying that there is some urgency to pass on a message instead of portraying an orderly package of verse and syllables. Thus, the Oceanic rhythm places the tone for the image of the soul, that is lost upon a huge ocean, anxiously reaching out to form a "link" or an in other words a lifeline.

In addition, the images that the poet tried to indicate in the poem are influential and touching. For example, in the line "O eyes wishfully turning! O. silent eyes!," he form the image of a man's eyes optimistically seeking for a symbol, or for identification, and for a companion, bringing it to the readers' minds the ability humans have in order to see the essence of another person's very soul through their eyes.

A use of colorful images along with a comparison of the human soul to a spider weaving its web is done in the first stanza.

As the spider, from some little promontory, throwing out filament after filament, tirelessly out of itself, that one at least may catch and form a link, a bridge, a connection,"

These lines describes the way that individuals intentionally broaden themselves and their energy in an effort to find love with the help of words, body language, actions and eyes.

Further on, the poet also compares the hard-working spider to humans who will never give up, still after having unsuccessful attempts and tiredness; they carry on to hang their complicated "webs" to imprison love. Although, the spider is a symbol for the soul, the cape where it is making the webs can be consider as an image for the human body as the place from where the soul operates.

Then the "filaments" spin by the spider in order to build its web is symbolic of weakness and the meager ability of one human being. However, it also represents the infirmity of human relationships. For instance, the spider's web is something that takes an enormous deal of time and endeavor to build that can also be smashed in immediately by some catastrophe or simple negligence.

From the perspective of a psychological criticism, the verse:

saw one passing along, saying hardly a word - yet full of love I detected him, by certain signs"

Here it is explained in literal terms as if this man was a stranger, or may be known just to the poet because the verse "Saying hardly a word" mean here that he is a shy person, silent in nature and reserved. Thus, the identification of the man "full of love" points to chemistry or the skill to read another person's purpose or feelings by means of physical appearance and body language, or just the power that their soul display.

Nevertheless, the poem appears to express that humans' hard work to get love are clear if not useless. For instance, the verse "But Death, unknown on the earth - ungiven, dark here, unspoken, never born:" beseech that love is for the living a part of life, and an unavoidable fact. However, the words latent and fathomless used describe love as hidden and endless.

Lastly, in the opinion of the poet, a suitable reader-response analysis is that this poem is promising, encouraging yet pensive. At the same time, it seems that there is love to share and experience all around the people where they tend to wear themselves in their attempts to obtain something that in realism turns out to be rather indefinable.

Thus, as the poetry states, love is unknown, undiscovered, and out of reach. Yet the soul has never-ending optimism to allow it to reach out again and again for the valuable gift of love.

Personal Analysis on the Poem:

One of the things which does not clear much in the line is where does the "fathomless ocean of love" originates. Does it originate from God, or the universe perhaps? However, to my understanding it seems that the poet is signifying that it is to be found in other people or other "souls," while in truth it is something that already exists within each of us; not just in our ability to love others, but in the capability to love ourselves too.

This was the point that Whitman was trying to make; although humans have an vast ability to feel love, as humans may make the mistake of considering that love is just something that can only be shared with or get from others meaning that we as humans search outside ourselves for something that already exists within us, but are unable to identify it.


Thus, the term love expresses the vital nature of a soul where the absolute energy of a soul is love. The human spirit makes apparent on the earth reflecting and directing this love. Therefore, it does not require to deliberately do anything with love since just as light give out its essence for all to use and see, similarly a soul needs love to exist to light up the world.

Works Cited

Willey, Linda. A Poetry Analysis: The Soul, reaching, throwing out for love by Walt

Whitman. Whitman's first version, ca. 1862.

A www.geocities.com

Lieye.Com: About Walt Whitman. The Poetry of Walt Whitman. Jan. 1998. www.liglobal.com

Emory Holloway. Writings About Whitman. Chapter from the Cambridge History of American Literature.

Anthony Szczesiul. Walt Whitman and the Development of Leaves of Grass. March-

A www.sc.edu

Poet at Work. Recovered notebooks from the Thomas Biggs Harned.Walt Whitman

Collections. www.memory.loc.gov

LitKicks. Advanced Internet In Washington DC & Baltimore. Walt Whitman. www.charm.net

Walt Whitman. The Academy of American Poets. Aug… [END OF PREVIEW]

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