Dickinson vs Whitman

In: English and Literature

Submitted By ddeaton1360
Words 566
Pages 3
David Deaton
Mr. Huitt
American Lit and Comp
24 January 2014
Dickinson versus Whitman
Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson's works have numerous differences. Compared to Dickinson's short and seemingly simple poems, Whitman's are long and often complex. Yet both twentieth century writers share several similarities when scrutinized thoroughly. Though their approaches differ, they often deal with the same themes, and both pioneered their own unique style of writing.
Using death as a theme is probably the strongest connection that Whitman and Dickinson share. Whitman's view on death is reflective of his belief in Transcendentalism. In "Song of Myself", Whitman uses the scientific principle of the conservation of energy to assert that there is life after death, because energy cannot be destroyed; only transformed. In stanza six, he writes "And what do you think has become of the women and children?/ They are alive and well somewhere,/ The smallest sprouts shows there is really no death" (Whitman 124-126). Whitman contends that life remains long after death,
Dickinson's writings on death are more complex and contradictory. She personifies death, generally seeing as a lord or as a compelling lover. In one of her more popular poems, "Because I could not stop for Death", death is like a kindly courter. He picks her up in a "Carriage held but just for Ourselves-/ And Immortality" (Dickinson 3-4). Many of her other poems are about the moment of death, and what happens when the living cross over into the dead. In "I heard a Fly buzz- when I died", Dickinson tries to explain what happens at the boundary of death. She describes the experience as conflicted as she attempts to define that moment with vivid images and sounds.
Religion is also another subject both writers struggle with, and it often ties into the death theme. Whitman challenged the traditional idea of religion,…...

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