Analysis Of Oh Captain My Captain By Walt Whitman

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May 31, 1819, Walt Whitman was born to Walter Whitman and Louisa Van Velsor. Walt was the second son of nine children who lived in New York in the 1820’s and 1830’s. Between 1825 and 1830 Walt attended public school in Brooklyn while his family moved often within the city. At twelve Walt began to learn the trade of printing to then begin loving the written word. Whitman worked as a printer until the age of seventeen when a fire destroyed where he worked. In 1836 he began working as a school teacher in Long Island until 1841 when he became a full-time journalist. Walt Whitman founded Long-Islander and edited for many other papers in New York. In 1848 Whitman quit his job in Brooklyn to become editor at a paper in New Orleans. Once in New Orleans…show more content…
My Captain! and it was published in 1891. This poem is about a man whose captain or ‘father figure’ has fallen dead without warning. They’ve been through alot together and they finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and just when he thinks the bad things are over, it gets worse. Many people relate this poem to Walt’s feelings towards Abraham Lincoln. He was a father figure to the country when the country was going through a hard time by attempting to abolish slavery. They were finally reaching the end of the fight and were so close to having it over and suddenly the healthy Abraham Lincoln drops dead due to being shot. It was unexpected and it shook the nation. This poem is considered an elegy, also known as a mourning poem. This also helps support the idea that he wrote the poem while mourning the death of Abraham Lincoln. The whole poem takes place on the deck of a ship as the ship is approaching the port of their home town. The narrator hears the celebrating people ashore and he hears bells ringing in celebration of their return when suddenly he sees his captain fall dead. The narrator is obviously upset by this and he cries out to his captain to 'rise up and hear the bells ' and to see the flag that has been flown for him. He wishes for his captain to celebrate with them but he cannot because he has ‘fallen cold and dead’. The poet uses metaphors, repetition, apostrophe, and rhythm in this poem. An example of the metaphor would be when Whitman writes ‘the prize we sought is won’ meaning that the outcome that Lincoln and his followers were fighting for with slavery has been achieved and they have what they wanted. An example of how Walt uses repetition when he starts each stanza with ‘Oh Captain! My Captain!’ and when he ends each stanza with ‘fallen cold and dead’. The rhyme scheme for this poem is aabb xcxc, and even though there isn 't a fixed meter there is a pattern of four long lines followed by four shorter lines
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