Essay about Analysis Of The Poem ' Ashes Of Soldiers ' By Walter Whitman

Essay about Analysis Of The Poem ' Ashes Of Soldiers ' By Walter Whitman

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Throughout Ashes of Soldiers by Walter Whitman, Whitman uses a multitude of different words that help create a feeling of regret for the dead soldiers of the Civil War. Walter Whitman’s syntax and diction throughout Ashes of Soldiers accentuates the feeling of sympathy and loss, versus Whitman’s typical yearning for sexual pleasure, captures the feelings of a country overturned by war. Walter Whitman served as a nurse during the Civil War and the experience of seeing so many men with rotting, sweltering flesh created a mentality for the soldiers that was separate from his views of other men. Whitman’s typical feeling of lust towards men became replaced by an eerie feeling of anguish for those killing the soldiers and a nonsexual tenderness towards them as exemplified by his description of the soldiers as having “Faces so pale without wondrous eyes,” (599). This perspective of the men as brothers instead of bedfellow tells a story different than most of the stories told in Whitman’s poems. Whitman’s volunteer work in the hospitals, along with his personal experience of having his brother being a wounded soldier, gave him a very personal relationship toward the wounded men of the Civil War. The affection that Whitman felt with men was very different than the relationship that Whitman typically felt for strong, young men, this relationship was much more of a kinship, and a relationship that one would feel with a brother, calling them his “dearest comrades” (600). After working with the men that fought in the Civil War, Whitman clearly believed that they were underappreciated and deserved better than what they received. Whitman’s use of words that depict a sense of appreciation and gratitude for the men, “Shroud them, embalm them, cov...


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...the countless graves,” (599). Starting each line with the word from asserts the importance of the fact that soldiers from all over the country were dead from this singular war. Similarly, later in the poem Whitman uses anaphora again to achieve a sense that the soldiers should not be remembered specifically for their war experience, but also for the rest of their lives so he tells the drummers to stay quiet by saying “Nor you drummers, neither at reveille at dawn, /Nor the long roll alarming the camp, nor even the muffled beat for a burial,” (599). These alternative poetic devices, such as anaphora and stanza length give the reader a sense of the remarkably important aspects of the poem including the fact that Whitman believes that the soldiers deserve recognition individually instead of on a group basis as well as the separation of the soldiers from the war itself.

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