A Poem Analysis: "A Noiseless Patient Spider" by Walt Whitman

Essay by tyannabCollege, Undergraduate September 2007

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Only attending school until the age of eleven and living in Long Island, this man became one of our nation's most honored poets (Poetry Criticism). Walt Whitman was born in 1819 in Long Island (Poetry Criticism). He attended school there until the age of eleven, after which he worked as a clerk in a law office (Poetry Criticism). At the age of thirty-five he published his first edition of Leaves of Grass which he would be constantly revising over the years (Poetry Criticism). He also spent a short time working as the editor of the New York Aurora and Brooklyn Eagle (Poetry Criticism). He made a quick change from being a simple journalist to a nationally recognized poet (Poetry Criticism). Commentators speculate that it could be one of two reasons. The first, which I tend to side with, is Ralph Waldo Emerson's lecture "The Poet" (Poetry Criticism). The reason I believe this rather then the next reason is all throughout Whitman's career Emerson has been a large influence (Poetry Criticism).

Emerson even wrote to him once: "I find it the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed... I greet you at the beginning of a great career" (Poetry For Students v13). The second idea that is believed to cause this change is "his acceptance of his homosexuality" (Poetry Criticism).

Whitman's most highly discussed works seem to be in the collection he titled Leaves Of Grass (Poetry Criticism). The interesting thing is that Whitman revised Leaves of Grass manytimes (Haralson). The third edition he revised was published right before the Civil War and sold out its first issue of a thousand copies (Haralson). Unfortunately the book was discontinued1when his printer went out of business due to bankruptcy during the war (Haralson). He didn't publish any new...