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Analytical Essay on four-line poem

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Okay, I have to analyze a very short poem "Life and Death" by Walt Whitman, and I am still sort of confused on how to organize my essay because it's so short.

The two old, simple problems ever intertwined,

Close home, elusive, present, baffled, grappled.

By each successive age insoluble, pass'd on,

To ours to-day--and we pass on the same.

Okay on the rough draft, I put that Whitman is trying to say that life is confusing because the natures of life and death are very contrasting and because people fear both life and death. The thing I need help is on is that I don't think that the two ideas are inside the actual poem. Meaning I don't think the poem says anything about fear of death or the contrast of life and death.

I'm not sure which topic I could switch it to. From the actual poem itself, all I get is that life and death are confusing and we pass that confusion through each generation. What can I talk about for my analytical essay?

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haha, Whitman is an interesting poet.

Let me inquire a few things...

Have you ever read any other poems by him?

if so, to what detail?

Considering that you are reading Life and Death, I figure you have read him extensively, but just want to make sure.

The poem in question is deceptive. There are a lot of things to discuss.

First: There is the ubiquitous theme Whitman presents in all his poetry: The life cycle, and the relationship between life and death. Note that in the poem he only alludes to the "two problems." There are loads you can probably analyze-mainly the actual identity of the two problems, and their nature (he uses freight train description styles to say everything at once)


Why is he saying all of this? Is there a connection between the poet and the "successive age"

Third: Is there an element of lament? Does he lament humanities lack of understanding?

Those three topics are what I would analyze.

Edited by Center Field

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