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Emily Dickinson & Walt Whitman

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Compare/Contrast Whitman & Dickinson * English P 4 * 2/2/06

When comparing writers, or musicians, or artists, it's really difficult to say who is better or who is more deserving of recognition. I say this because, in my mind, it is unfair and wrong to make competition between forms of art, its like saying that blue is better then yellow; who's to decide something like that? Good for the Grammy's, but music to me is the same way. There is no reason why my song is better or worse then yours, they are different and beautiful in individual ways. I view writers the same way, including Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. They both have amazing thing to say and concepts to share. They are very unique and have their own style and personality.

Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson have very separate writing styles but they sometimes speak of the same ideas. They believe in the outdoors and use that in their poetry but also utilize nature in ways that are distinct to them individually. They both speak of love but yet again, have split views and concepts with that vast topic. Besides their talk of nature and love, in which they can be compared, they are usually contrasted because of their extreme dissimilar styles. Structurally they are entirely opposite, and the figurative language that they use differs. Lastly, the subject matter of their work is not contradicting, yet is incongruent. Different things affected their lives and that is shown through each independent poem.

Nature is a major part of every person's life. It is what surrounds us in everyday, all the time. Because of this, it only makes sense that it becomes enticing material for writers of all shapes and sizes. Whitman and Dickinson prove this to be true. One commonality that these two poets have is that they use nature as description. For example, in Whitman's "Song of Myself" 52 he references to a spotted hawk, and in a more literal spot, he places the set for his poem "Song of Myself" 10 in the wilds and the mountains. Part of the reasons Whitman used nature so much, is that he was very into the pioneer spirit and the Old West. Furthermore, Emily Dickinson uses nature in a very metaphorical way. In "Apparently with no surprise" she talks of happy flowers and the frost beheading it. She puts flower in the place of people or a person in that specific example. The way that these writers use nature relative to all life strikes me because they show how everything is intertwined in life, not just nature and people, but everything.

In the use of nature, the writers are relatively similar. Yet the way they put their work down on paper is very different. Walt Whitman flows through his work using barely any structure, in free verse. If he splits his poems up into any form of verse, they are rarely equal in the number of lines per verse, or the number of syllables. He also tends to stay away from rhyme. This sort of freestyle at first betrayed him and people brushed him off as nothing, but later, it gave him character and a specific style. Emily Dickinson on the other hand stuck to a more traditional form of keeping organization and using rhyme and verse. Both methods were extremely effective too, for the type of writing the pair was expressing. Neither is worse, or better, again they each hold true to being contrasting, yet brilliant.

Along with structure, Dickinson and Whitman differ in their choice of



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