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Comparing 'Storm on the Island' and 'Patrolling Barnegat'

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Comparing 'Storm on the Island' and 'Patrolling Barnegat' 'Storm on the Island' by Seamus Heaney and 'Patrolling Barnegat' by Walt Whitman are similar in a number of ways however, there are also strong contrasts. Possibly the most apparent comparison is the subject matter. Both poems are written from a personal viewpoint about a storm. Heaney describes the storm from inside a building for which he is prepared for, "We build our houses squat" The impression is given that the storm according to Heaney is not a rare occurrence and that he is writing about many similar storms. The title uses no article and writes in the present tense. Whitman however, speaks as if he is in fact within the storm, almost participating. ...read more.


The lack of rhyming couplets and use of half rhymes at the end of each line "running/muttering/pealing" encourages the reader to feel blown along - much like a storm itself. Dissimilarly, 'Storm on the Island' is free verse and has no rhyme or rhythm. It uses enjambment "spits like a tame cat/Turned savage" and reads continuously somewhat like a story or a conversation. The idea that Seamus Heaney is actually speaking to his audience is reinforced by his friendly manner of speech. He uses common conversational tags "you know what I mean" the reader is then effectively drawn in and feels involved with the poem. The language used within the poems is fairly analogous. Both use harsh sounds to create an impact. ...read more.


'Patrolling Barnegat' features a lot of repetition. Both single words, "wild, wild" and short-phrases "milk-white combs careering" are repeated to stress and emphasise important points or descriptions. Many images within the poems are personified, in 'Patrolling Barnegat' "demoniac laughter" is "muttered." The eeriness of comparing storm noises to 'demoniac laughter' makes the storm seem even more alive and hostile. The "wizened earth" in 'Storm on the Island' is personified "it has never troubled us (with crops)." This statement is ironic as "wizened" at first seems to be a complaint but as the reader continues to study the poem they become aware that it is in fact a blessing. Initially, the poems look alike as their subject matters are the same however, both poets have expressed the feelings behind a storm in different ways. They use similar techniques but convey them to have different effects and meanings. ...read more.

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