Comparing Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

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Comparing Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

The lives of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson have many similarities and differences. Here, we will focus on the similarities in their lives in order to bring to attention a correlation between Whitman's poem I Saw in Louisiana a Live-oak Growing and Dickinson's poem # 1510. Both poets wrote during the time of Romanticism, even though Whitman was Dickinson's senior by some eleven years. This however did not influence the way the writing styles of many of their poems coincided.

Loneliness was an important characteristic of both poet's lives during the writing years. Whitman, whose sexuality has been questioned, was never one for social interaction. Much of his time was spent writing or editing newspapers such as the Long Island Star and the Brooklyn Daily Times (Whitman XV). Dickinson, whose life was similar to Whitman's in a social sense, lived in a different atmosphere. Emily lived in Amherst which was a far cry from the hustle an bustle of Whitman's life in cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and New Orleans. She never married, living alone in her home for the majority of her life (Dickinson 128). The loneliness, along with the inspiration from nature (a major characteristic of Romantic writing), are two things that can be seen in the two poems that we are about to take an in depth look at. In addition to these items we can also see a possible attempt by Whitman and Dickinson to keep their real life away from public view (even though they were not immediately published), instead making their lives seem joyous.

We will first look at Walt Whitman's poem I Saw in Louisiana a Live-oak Growing. In the second line, Whitman sets the tone of loneliness by describing ...

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...in Louisiana a Live-oak Growing and #1510, but also between the lonely lifestyles Whitman and Dickinson led. However one characteristic does shine through in both poems. That being the attempt by both writers to hide the loneliness of their lives by saying that they are happy and have fought through the loneliness. These two works are great parallels of the writer's lives even though they may not have intended to directly relate the poems to themselves.

Works Cited

Dickenson, Donna, Emily Dickinson. Dover: Berg Publishing,

1985.

Myerson, Joel, Ed. Whitman in his own Time. Detroit:

Omigraphics Inc, 1991.

Bibliography:

Works Cited

Dickenson, Donna, Emily Dickinson. Dover: Berg Publishing,

1985.

Myerson, Joel, Ed. Whitman in his own Time. Detroit:

Omigraphics Inc, 1991.

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