Walt Whitman Vs American Romanticism

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American Romanticism is a literary and philosophical movement that was primarily in the 1800’s and was a response to the Enlightenment. Some key things American Romanticism focuses on is nature, individuality, imagination, insight, and intuition. Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson were two famous American Romantic poets from the 1800’s who were unquestionably influential. Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman are intensely different in the ways they view society. Walt Whitman viewed society as a whole and that society could complete seemingly impossible tasks by banding together. Emily Dickinson viewed society in a negative way and that society should not force everyone to be a part of it. She believed that society was not powerful or a good thing…show more content…
One can not change one’s society even if oneself so desired. This gives the individual power over society because they are not distracted from anything and completing tasks instead of only half finishing them. Another way of looking at this is like a tunnel. There are five tunnels you can choose from. Once you choose and enter a tunnel, the mountainside is blown up behind you so you can only continue going forward. In a tunnel, there is only two ways to go. If the mountainside is blown up, then there is only one way to go. You continue to go that way the rest of your life without looking back. This can relate to Walt Whitman’s “O’ Me! O’ Life!” In the poem, it says that: “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse” (9). The meaning of this is to say that while the world continues spinning with or without you, you can contribute to society and the world if you so choose to do so. She also believes that once the soul selects its own society then it should shutout society forever. This is visible in her poem where it says “Choose One- / Then- close the Valves of her attention- / Like Stone-” (10-12). She is saying that once oneself choose one’s society, shut the rest of society out and only focus on one’s personal society. Oneself is supposed to focus on what one chose to do, yet focus on nothing else. A way to understand this is tunnel vision. Under certain circumstances, people can experience tunnel vision. When this…show more content…
In his poem, “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer,” it says: “When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room, / How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick, / Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself” (4-6). This indicates that the individual has the ability to choose one’s own fate, and not follow society. This can relate to his poem “O’ Me! O’ Life!’ In the poem, it says: “Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me” (5). This could be seen as if everyone is on a giant conveyor belt, but only a few people jump off and decide to go the other way. The way society goes through life is the easy route. The individual person has to decide if one wants to go the easy route with less promise, or if one wants to go the hard route with better results for the

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