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"What does it think it's doing running west / When all the other country brooks flow east": An analysis of liberation in "West-running Brook," "After Apple-Picking," "A Noiseless Patient Spider," and "A Woman Waits for Me"

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Introduction

"What does it think it's doing running west / When all the other country brooks flow east": An analysis of liberation in "West-running Brook," "After Apple-Picking," "A Noiseless Patient Spider," and "A Woman Waits for Me" In "West-running Brook," "After Apple-Picking," "A Noiseless Patient Spider," and "A Woman Waits for Me," emphasis on the structure serves to accentuate the fundamental theme of liberation as both Frost and Whitman diverge from conventional poetic norms even as they explore equally unconventional ideas. Poetry is organic. A quintessential principle proposed by Frost of which he endorsed both in his essays and in his finished verse. In asserting the freedom of poetry from former tradition, he reaffirmed Emerson's doctrine that it is not meter but a meter-making argument that produce poetry. "The freshness of a poem," Frost believed, "belongs absolutely to its not having been thought out and then set to verse" (Symbol 26). In doing so would bind the poet to a fatal compromise, one analogous to composing music to accommodate a pre-selected set of lyrics. ...read more.

Middle

Form, in accordance, would be derived from inspiration. Organic structure is easily discernable in Whitman's products, where the forms are innovative. Whitman's poems do not follow established patterns in their composition, nor do the beginnings create rigid molds which would bind their own nether parts. "A Noiseless, Patient Spider", is marked by its use of juxtaposition and extended metaphor. Unlike a metaphor, juxtaposition does not substitute one thing for the other, but depends entirely on the proximity of the two objects to infer their relationship. The use of juxtaposition in the poem ultimately serves to establish a metaphysical conceit, an extended metaphor. In the case of "A Noiseless, Patient Spider" the metaphysical conceit explicates the similarities between the speaker's "Soul" and the spider, both of which on the surface appear dissimilar and distinct. The effect of juxtaposition creates a relationship between the spider and the speaker's soul as both are portrayed as "isolated" and surrounded by the immensity of their worlds that they seem insignificant, minuscule. Correspondingly, both are driven to explore and make "connection" with the worlds in which they live: the spider by casting his web endlessly till "[it] catch[es] somewhere" (Noiseless 10), and the speaker by "musing, venturing, throwing, seeking"(8), a purpose in life. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although the poem contains an air of egocentrism, it doesn't detract from the theme, but rather reinforces it. Diction remains simple and relatively to the point, with some words that exhibit the poem's tone; however it is the incessant use of the word "I" that draws on this solipsistic quality of which Whitman is confirming his immortality. It is his "stuff to start sons and daughters" that will enable his longevity into the next generation and beyond. The "loving crops from the birth, life, death, immortality, I plant so lovingly now" mark his liberation from the confines of the past as it projects him into a perpetual state of remembrance. As such, both Frost and Whitman's poems seem to end in deliberate ambiguity. Different interpretations are, therefore, encouraged as all poetry is hinting, essentially a metaphor. Poetry allows in its most basic sense the freedom to express thought and freedom to voice opinion. It is free from any definite meanings or interpretations. Consequently, to deem their work as poetry reveals Frost and Whitman as advocators of liberation and their produced works serves to strengthen the theme further. Even Frost, explicitly supported this notion as he stated that poetry is "the one permissible way of saying one thing and meaning another" (Education 36). ...read more.

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