Metaphors Of Freedom In Walt Whitman’s “When I Heard The Learn’d Astronomer”

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Metaphors of Freedom in Walt Whitman's "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer"� Walt Whitman, more than most poets, stressed his pure thought in his poems. That is, he stressed feelings towards issues that he attended to every day. This way of expression tends to draw the reader closer to the poem, and allows them to feel the conflict of thought which the author tries to convey. Generally, Whitman expresses an idea that separates conventional thought from that of his own mundane thinking. In his poem, "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer, Whitman expresses a need for freedom in more than one way. He grasps the righteousness of something seemingly mathematical and explains its worth as something creatively fulfilling. The main idea of the poem focuses on the worth of individual thinking over that of logical, universal thinking.

The first of the two main sections of the poem consists of the first four lines.

They all begin with "When. "� This suggests that Whitman refers to the past in this section. He begins by telling his audience of the time in which he heard a "learn'd astronomer."� Right away, the reader assumes the astronomer to be a respected figure, and someone of great worth. Whitman must also have believed this, as he seems to convince himself of it. This astronomer symbolizes a set way of thinking. So far, there is freedom to think in the way the astronomer does, yet no other choices appear. This way of thinking remains as the way of thinking, disregarding any other sense of thought. The situation, in effect, is similar to that of a court case where a witness has been asked to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It seems that the reader is being led to...