Poetry (O Captain my Captain and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner)

Hello all!

Past week has been pretty weird, ending with me getting really sick and missing a couple days, not to mention being stuck in bed for a whole weekend.  Not the most fun way to spend time, but what happens happens.  On the bright side, in class we will be starting a poetry unit!

One of the first poems we were assigned was “O Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman.  It is a famous American poem about the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.  This poem is fairly simple to analyze because of its well known topic.

The poem begin,

“Oh captain! My captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather’d ever rack, the prize we sought is won”

This poem creates a metaphor for Abraham Lincoln’s leadership role as US President to the role a captain plays on a ship.  The “fearful trip” means the Civil War, which was won in favor of the union and brought the country together again to be united.  Unfortunately, although the captain reaches his goal, in both cases he is killed and “lies fallen cold and dead.”

The poem goes on, not only just to mourn the dead captain, but something more.  It expresses how horrible it is that the captain worked so hard even to death to help the ship get to shore safely, or bring the country together and ensure our future, but does not get to enjoy it.  Not only does he not to get to enjoy it, but he is replayed for his hard work by being assassinated.

This poem is a great one to start with, because it is easy to identify the extended metaphor and realize the author’s point of writing it.

-Paulie 🙂

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