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Poem Analysis - "Ode to the Confederate Dead"

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  • Essay length: 2900 words
  • Submitted: 20/06/2006
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English IV Honors Erin Maglaque

Poem Analysis Feb. 9

"Ode to the Confederate Dead"

The lyric poem "Ode to the Confederate Dead" was written by Allen Tate over a period of ten years. "Ode" was published in 1937, and it was the only poem about which Tate wrote an explanatory essay entitled, 'Narcissus as Narcissus."1 The poem is constructed to tell the thoughts of persona as he stops by the gate of a Confederate graveyard. Persona's thoughts and reflections upon the soldiers who died is the subject of the poem; through imagery and diction, the reader is allowed to then unearth the theme of the poem: a combination of two philosophies about the human mind, narcissism and solipsism. However, in order to understand the connection between the soldiers and the abstract theories of narcissism and solipsism, it is crucial to understand persona. The imagery and diction written by Tate but effectually used by persona is the connection between the subject and the theme.

While Tate does not make many historical allusions, the one stanza that begins, "Stonewall, Stonewall..."2 makes reference to Stonewall Jackson, a Confederate general, and several battles that took place

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