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Imagery In The Works Of Robert Frost And Walt Whitman

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Imagery is one of the most powerful tools in any writer’s tool box. Both Robert Frost and Walt Whitman were innovative poets ahead of their time. Whitman had invented “free verse” writing and pioneered naturalistic writing. He also used powerful imagery to depict the norms of everyday life, even in the times of the Civil War (“Vigil Strange I Kept”). Robert Frost used more traditional rhythm and meter, but also used nature to paint a literary picture for his readers to “see” the settings in his poetry and put his readers from the West Coast of America, or across the Atlantic in the United Kingdom, in the beautiful winter scene of New England (“Birches”). Both poets used powerful imagery in their own unique way while having completely different writing styles, and had different effects on how their imagery paints the picture and creates the focal point for the reader. Frost’s traditional writing style makes it easier for readers to interpret his works and can develop their own ideas on what the words of the poem mean. Whitman’s innovative free verse writings are more elaborate and do not have multiple interpretations, which allows Whitman to give the reader a focal point and creates a scene that all readers will see almost the same way.
Walt Whitman’s poetry is most commonly set in pre-Civil War through post-Civil War America. Whitman’s poetry, which commonly focused on how “amazing” he was, paints a very vivid picture of the people he mentions in his poems (when he isn’t too busy being self-riotous). Robert Frost’s poetry was published during WWI to help get the global community to “see” the beautiful New England landscape in the seasons during a time of war and atrocities. His poetry often does not have any people within the sett...

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...able of painting a bunch of small pictures that give the reader great details, and turns that into one grand picture for the reader to see everything in extreme detail. “He writes of the “silvery river” and “the splashing horses loitering . . . to drink,” as well as the image of sunlight glinting off the “brown-faced” cavalry soldiers’ guns. The culmination of these “images,” then, is the larger “image” of the cavalry as a whole.”(53)Whitman’s free verse writing allowed for greater control of the imagery being created in his works because there is no set rhyme or meter in free verse writing. Without these restraints he is able to use any words any way he wishes to. With all these freedoms, the page is almost a literal blank canvas for Whitman to paint his literary picture of the union cavalry unit resting with “ The guidon flags flutter gaily in the wind.” (Whitman)
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