An Analysis Of Walt Whitman's The Dirge For Two Veterans

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Whitman is known for his grim and realistic poems depicting war as a result of his time as a volunteer nurse in the American Civil War. During the war, he saw the horrible results of battle in piles of amputated limbs and field littered with bodies. It is no wonder that after his time as union nurse he would write poems that were transfixed with the tragedies of war and their victims. This obsession with death combined with his fierce nationalism blended with the beauty of nature has made Whitman remembered as one of the great romantic poets. “The Dirge for Two Veterans” is one of his greatest works and uses these themes to create a vividly clear picture of tearful funeral procession. As the poem opens Whitman sets up a scene of beauty and calmness by describing the last rays of light from the day fading into twilight. The peacefulness of these lines is …show more content…

A father and son both struck dead on a brave charge toward the enemy, they were killed side by side in battle and now will be laid in next to each other in their final resting place. In the next stanza “the daylight o'er the pavement quite has faded” (23). In this darkness the procession of the drummers and the loved ones of the veterans has come nearer to the narrator and the drum beat has become even more convulsive. The night has now changed from a peaceful sunset to a parade of wails and the banging of drums as the sun sets. Our narrator has become completely enthralled in this depressing scene. He goes so far as to say “the strong dead-march enwraps me.” (24) as if this scene is blanket over his head restricting his world to just his immediate surroundings. He is so overwhelmed by the bravery of the father and son that he finds himself loving them despite not knowing them for their sacrifice to their country. The classic theme of nationalism in the common folk in romantic poetry rears its head in what has become an ode to the brave

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