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Robert Frost and Walt Whitman: Poems Comparison Essay


Both Robert Frost and Walt Whitman are the well known poets of United States of America. Walk Whitman was born in the first half of the 1800s and Robert Frost – in the second (Robert Frost, n. d.). The works of these two poets are philosophical, they reflect the life experiences the poets had to face or observe. Their experiences were rich, as both of them did a lot of different works (Walt Whitman, 2014). Both poets are known to put a lot of wisdom into their poems, but only a careful and skillful reader can properly and fully comprehend the messages carried by their poems as they often are disguised.

The world of Frost and Whitman are filled with a large number of stylistic devices and figures of speech, which makes them richer and more vivid. The use of figurative speech in poetry gives the poems a capacity to reach out to the hearts and minds of the readers and evoke stronger emotions. This paper is designed to compare the Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay” and Walt Whitman’s “A Noiseless, Patient Spider”, the poetic language, themes and figures of speech used in them.

“A Noiseless, Patient Spider” by Walt Whitman was written to establish the tight connection between the human soul, feelings and emotions and the nature and its laws. In the very beginning of the poem Whitman describes a spider, the way it patiently waits for the victim, hides itself, lives alone in total isolation. The actions of spider are compared to a human soul that also feels lonely “in measureless oceans of space” (Whitman, 7). The web is seen as an anchor that connecting various spheres of life to create some stability in life, find balance.

“Nothing Gold Can Stay” is also filled with philosophical wisdom. Robert Frost speaks about seeing the beauty and uniqueness of each moment in life, its evanescent magic. In the first half of the poem Frost speaks about early spring, saying that its freshness and its first green is “the hardest hue to hold” (2). By stating that everything has its life span, the poet notes that this is a law of nature, and that nothing is forever “so dawn goes down to day” (Frost, 7). This poem is Frost’s attempt to encourage his readers to capture the moments and enjoy their beauty, appreciate it before they disappear forever.

Both poems are rich in metaphors. The examples of Frost’s metaphors are “hardest hue to hold” (2), “Eden sank to grief” (6), “dawn goes down” (7). Whitman’s metaphors are “launch’d forth filament” (4), “tirelessly speeding the (filaments)” (5), “O my Soul, where you stand” (6). Besides, both poets use hyperboles such as Frost’s “her early leaf’s a flower; but only so an hour” (3-4) and Whitman’s “in measureless oceans of space” (7). Frost used metonymy saying “nature’s first green is gold” (1), the word “gold” here is metonymy for “precious”. Whitman’s metonymy is “till the bridge you will need” (10), where “bridge” is the metonymy for “connection”.

The contrast between these two poems is in their themes. First of all, Whitman brings humans in to his work, while Frost explores the laws of nature only. Secondly, spirituality is employed in both poems by mentioning Eden and soul, but Frost sees decaying as a natural process, while Whitman disagrees that hesitant soul is natural. Finally, both poets use very little words, yet Whitman’s poem is much longer and it uses the repetition of consonants in phrases to create a sound effect of whisper. For example, ”Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space” (7).

Reference List

Frost, R. (2014). Nothing Gold Can Stay. Web.

(n. d.). Poets.Web.

(2014). Poetry Foundation.Web.

Whitman, W. (2014). A Noiseless Patient Spider. Web.

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"Robert Frost and Walt Whitman: Poems Comparison." IvyPanda, 18 June 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/robert-frost-and-walt-whitman-poems-comparison/.

1. IvyPanda. "Robert Frost and Walt Whitman: Poems Comparison." June 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/robert-frost-and-walt-whitman-poems-comparison/.


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IvyPanda. "Robert Frost and Walt Whitman: Poems Comparison." June 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/robert-frost-and-walt-whitman-poems-comparison/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Robert Frost and Walt Whitman: Poems Comparison." June 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/robert-frost-and-walt-whitman-poems-comparison/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Robert Frost and Walt Whitman: Poems Comparison'. 18 June.

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