Walt Whitman in his poem, “The noiseless patient spider,” has used aspects of modern poetry, such as symbolism and romanticism in an ingenious way to evoke emotion and imagination positively, for the reader reflect on their life in relation to the poem.
Symbolism as an aspect of modern poetry can be best described as a representation of a symbol that carries meaning and represents an idea. Romanticism on the other is an artistic, intellectual movement characterized by a keen interest in nature, emphasis on the individual’s form of expression of emotion and imagination. Romantic reading is more complex than other types of literature. In her book, “Introduction Remanent Romanticism in Modern Poetry,” Joanny Moulin, referred to Walt Whitman as the great “Romantic” father figure(Moulin. p, 3-6).
The main idea of the poem is to evoke mystery, ideas, imagination and emotions from the reader. There is however no use of rhyme. Whitman has made use of nature in his poem when he talks of a spider in the vast surrounding as well as oceans of space. In the poem, the poet has put out his point of view as the third person in only two stanzas (Lani).
The use of a spider is a symbolic representation of a person. Whitman has used it to create an aspect of personification. A spider in the factualsense is a predator, some people love them some people loathe them. This notion is the same for human beings. Whitman has also mentioned his soul in the poem. He talks of how his soul is searching for some sort of connection with something in a big void. The spider in the first stanza, gives the reader the impression that it’s looking for a connection to something, when it launches its “filament,” and spreading them. This is similar the soul in the second stanza where his soul is venturing and seeking spheres to connect to. In my opinion, the soul is looking for a spiritual connection (Whitman).
The poet has used elements of modern poetry such as metaphor. He has used a bridge in the second stanza to subtly imply that, there is a link to his loneliness that his soul needs to find to be happy. But before this happens, he is nevertheless searching for something. The spider on the other hand, describes our everyday struggles in its restlessness and willingness to hold on to something as it is,“ever unreeling and tirelessly speeding its filament.” The title, “The Noiseless Patient Spider,” is used to describe him as a lonely predator, constantlysearching for somethingin this vast world (Whitman).
Whitman talks about his soul being surrounded and detached but still looking for a connection. This implies that he feels that nobody understands him or they do not see his true nature. His soul however is determined to find what he is looking for; as he talks about the thread he will fling to catch something(Whitman).
In conclusion, this 2 stanza poem has a lot to offer an avid reader. The use of romanticism and symbolism has been captured to create mystery and varied emotions. I think this poem is positive as it really encompasses the human life as we know it. Its comparison to a spider is depicting our daily lives.The use of repetition of, “filament,” illustrates how hard we strive to achieve something in life.The bridge is a link that will get us where we are going.We are all always looking for something, love, contentment, money, etc. Inevitably, in the end, this search will be over in the event of our death.
Joanny Moulin, Introduction RemanentRomanticism in modern Poetry.Cercles12, University of Aix- Marseille, 2005. Print.
Walt Whitman, A Noiseless Patient Spider, The Wondering Minstrels. Friday, June 2, 2000. Print
Lani.WaltWhitman, All American Writer. Web. 6th Dec. 2011. http://www.kyrene.org/schools/brisas/sunda/poets/whitman.
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