Poetry Analysis




EmilyDickinson and Walt Whitman are both influential American poets. Oneof the key similarities is extensive use of figurative language inthe poems. For instance, Emily asserts, “successis counted sweetest/ by those who never succeed/ to comprehend anectar/ requires sorest need(Dickinson 112, 1-4).” She emphasizes the significance of successby comparing it to the nectar that humans use to suppress sore taste(Baym &amp Levine, 2012, P. 1859). On the other hand, Whitman claimsthat, “Andthis bunch plucked at random from myself, / it has done – it hasdone its work – I toss it carelessly to fall where it may.”The author is referring to his semen as a “randomly plucked seedthat he can dispose of as he likes (Baym &amp Levine, 2012, P.1069).

Thepoets also used personification features. In the author asserts, “Thegreed that eats me day and night with hungry gnaw, till I saturate/(line22).” He refers to his sexual desire as greed that consumes him(Baym &amp Levine, 2012, P. 1069). Similarly, Dickinson states,“WhenButterflies – renounce their “Drams” (207, 11)”. Shepersonifies butterflies by alluding that they do dream(Baym &amp Levine, 2012, P. 1861).

Lastly,both poets have used several metaphors across the poems. Forinstance, Dickinson asserts that, “When“Landlords” turn the drunken bee(207, 8).” The statement implies that the property owners begintaking beer excessively (Baym &amp Levine, 2012, P. 1861). Likewise,“gazeloving and thirsting eyes, in the house or street or public assembly!(9, 12).” The speaker uses the statement to refer to refer to thebusybodies.

BothDickinson and Whitman convey information that is inspired by theconventions of life back then. For example, Dickinson’s poems aremainly based on religion, death, living a holy life and loneliness.Her family was wealthy, and she never got married. The poeminsinuates she was a pious recluse, but she was often a loner andobsessed with death. On the other hand, Whitman poems mainly conveymessages associated with nutriment, birth, gestation, animal economy,and sex facts. In his era, the topics were not discussed in public.He revolutionized the people’s acceptance of addressing sexualissues in poems (Strachan, &amp Terry, 2000, p.14).

Bothpoets successfully describe the conventions in their era, but Whitmanaccomplished the goal more precisely than Dickinson. He uses freeverse technique that gives him flexibility to use language as hewishes. In addition, he uses narratives to pass information todescribe realistic situations that the reader can associate with thetopic he addresses in each poem. For example, the Facing West fromCalifornia’s Shores poem concerns travelers’ events towards thewest of the Californian shore (Strachan, &amp Terry, 2000, p. 19).

InWhatto the Slave is the Fourth of July?,Douglass hopes to encourage the policymakers in the United States toprohibit slavery. Douglas poses, “Whatto the Slave is the Fourth of July? I answer, a day that reveals tohim, more than other days of the year, the gross injustice andcruelty to which he is the constant victim(Baym &amp Levine, 2012, P. 1005.” The speaker uses a despondenttone to portray the helplessness, disappointment, and their sufferingin the United States’ independence celebration day.

Douglasschallenges the policy makers to treat the slaves equally to othercitizens because their work would be easier and more beneficial thanforced labor. Besides, they would gladly participate in building thenation. “Whoso stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell thehallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude hasbeen torn from his limbs(Baym &amp Levine, 2012, P. 1003)?”

Douglassalso advocates elimination of discrimination. He points out the stateof Virginia that had enacted seventy-two crimes that would make thestate kill a slave. On the contrary, only two of the crimes outlinedin the regulations would carry the same death penalty if a white mancommitted such crimes. The laws are harsh and discriminative becausethey consider the slaves as impeccably moral upright such that theywould not breach the set regulations. He further notes that manySouthern States prohibit educating the slaves (black people), whichis extreme oppression because even the slaves required education too.Furthermore, he proves that they are normal humans and can boost theAmerican economy if the equality rights are implemented as theyparticipate in watering sheep, mining gold, and farming among otherprimary responsibilities (Baym &amp Levine, 2012, P. 1005).

Douglasdelivers the speech using a brave tone. For example, he poses to thepolicymaker, “Wouldyou have me argue that a man is entitled to liberty? That he is therightful owner of his body(Baym &amp Levine, 2012, P. 1005?” He valiantly challenges theAmerican policymakers that they are robbing them of their humanrights by making them work without payments, denying them the rightof being with their families, as well as chaining and auctioning themas they wish.

Douglas’sspeech was successful because slave trade and labor was abolished inNorth America after ten years. The equality policies he had referredto in his speech were drafted and executed. The Southern states hadthe biggest share of slaves, so they refused to abolish slave laboruntil 1865 after the Civil War. The north won the conflict, therebyforcing the south to terminate slavery.


Baym,N., &amp Levine, R. S. (2012). TheNorton anthology of American literature.New York: W.W. Norton &amp Company.

Strachan,J. R., &amp Terry, R. G. (2000). Poetry.Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.