Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson
The 17th century was a time with full of new changes in America for both literary and culture. Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson are two of the most famous writers of the 17th century because they dealt with new styles and subjects, which make them still to be remembered and inspired even today. Even though they are both famous pioneers and have some common features, they are very different from each other. Even though they have some common inspires, the way they handle them is different. However, they are both important for American poetry and they added new features to poetry.
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “meter-making argument” is the thing what encourages Whitman and Dickinson for being creative (Baym 20). That’s why instead of what everybody did, they created their own style. One of the biggest similarities is for me the use of nature and nature images in their poems. For example in Song of Myself: “The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves and of the shore and dark-color’d sea rocks and of hay in the barn,” (Whitman 30). In Dickinson’s poem 130: “These are the days when skies resume/ the old- old sophistries of June-/ A blue and gold mistake,” (Dickinson 61). In addition, they also have some political works. It is also supposed that they both are homosexual or had homosexual relationships (Baym 81).
As both for his personality and his poems, Whitman seems like easygoing. He was a son of a working-class family of Quakers; He worked in several jobs in his life such as editing magazines to nursing wounded soldiers, which he did with love (Baym 22). This nursing job very influenced his writings and made him question the morality of war. He wanted to become famous, and even though he wasn’t popular that much at first, except with Emerson whom he admired so much, people started to get used to his works.
As another response to Emerson, I realized Whitman used no meter or rhyme; generally, stick with the free verse and very long writing with imageries. What Emerson wanted to imply was abandoning all poetic structure makes a poet more creative and unique (Baym 20). However, he sometimes uses some devices as repetitions and alliterations. What he mostly deals with his writings are nature and the average/common man. I also encounter some of the writings about war and soldiers. Some of these writings look like quite personal as they make feel like we are listening to Whitman’s thoughts. His writings also not always obscure, on the contrary, he sometimes clearly clarifies things, that’s why he gets criticism, mostly in the subjects when he talks about sex or human body (Baym 22).