Walt Whitman O Captain! Essay

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Whitman's "O'Captain! My Captain!" is a poem written in response to the assassination of President Lincoln in 1865. The poem takes a metaphorical approach to the United States. As Whitman refers to the U.S. As the Captain's "ship" and the American Civil war is metaphorically referred to as the "fearful trip" in the poem. Whitman paints a picture of sadness and exaltation by declaring that the Captain (Lincoln) had successfully navigated the storm and allowed the U.S. To continue existing. He also feels as though Lincoln should be recognized for this, but reminds the reader that the Captain lay bleeding, mortally wounded, in reference to Lincoln being assassinated. There is nothing that can be done but perhaps the Captain will remain alive long enough to see how he has single-handedly saved the ship from disaster.

The imagery is interesting and speaks of ribbons and wreaths. These types of decorations were often used at funerals and Whitman is glorifying the life and accomplishments of the late President Lincoln through this imagery. The vivid imagery surrounding the lies about being cold and dead also speaks to the fact that Lincoln assassination came as a surprise to everyone, and this shock was certainly very disconcerting and disturbing for nearly everyone who was alive during this time in the U.S. The idea that the nation is a ship that had to navigate its way out of a storm paints a picture for the reader of a captain who took great care to consciously keep the sailors alive. This imagery is something that everyone can understand, and the confusion and shock associated with Lincoln's assassination left many people looking for something to cling to or relate to. Whitman is giving them this by showing them that it is a common experience and other people are feeling similarly.

The Captain being referenced is a father figure that… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Walt Whitman O Captain! .  (2010, April 30).  Retrieved December 12, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/walt-whitman-o-captain/834

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"Walt Whitman O Captain! ."  Essaytown.com.  April 30, 2010.  Accessed December 12, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/walt-whitman-o-captain/834.