Poetry writer and/or reader. It holds a variety

Poetry is an
important aspect to literature because it often provides a deeper meaning
within the text that is influential to the writer and/or reader. It holds a
variety of literary devices that creates a set of emotions and allows the
reader to engage into the context. Whitman’s poem, “O Pioneers! O’ Pioneers!”
was written in 1865 to further enrich Whitman’s encouragement of the Westward
expansion. Whitman is showing his supportive behavior towards the struggles and
empowerment America faces to fulfill the idea of Manifest Destiny through his
constant use of symbolism, imagery, and allegory.

            Symbolism
is a poetic movement using symbolic images or an indirect meaning to convey a
deeper state of mind. Whitman references the pioneers in, “O’ Pioneers! O’
Pioneers!” to soldiers in an army. For example, “Get your weapons ready; Have
you your pistols? Have you your sharp-edged axes?” (Lines 2-3). The first
stanza of the poem uses similar meaning of words such as weapons, axes, and
pistols which creates the mindset of an army preparing for battle. Whitman
compares the pioneers to an army in order to show the rough but worthwhile
journey ahead of the pioneers to migrate to the Western World. Similarly, an
army must go into battle in order to encompass a better life, one that involves
freedom. In addition, Whitman writes, “Raise the mighty mother mistress, waving
high the delicate mistress, over all the starry mistress (bend your heads all,)
Raise the fang’d and warlike mistress, stern, impassive weapon’d mistress”
(Lines 31-33). Whitman uses this stanza to represent the American Flag by using
words such as raise, waving high, and starry. He also symbolizes the flag as
being mighty yet delicate to show the qualities surrounding it. This, once
again, suggests the pioneers are like an army, since an army looks up to and
respects the flag. Not only does it represent a recollection of our country’s
past achievements in history, but it is also a representation of the freedom
America provides for all people. Also, Whitman says, “On an on, the compact
ranks, with accessions ever waiting, with the places of the dead quickly fill’d,
through the battle, through defeat, moving yet and never stopping” (Lines 37-39).

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

Whitman uses the phrase “compact ranks” to suggest the pioneers act like a tight,
uniformed, army. Along the journey to America, many pioneers face unnoticed deaths;
however, instantly, the spot is filled with another youthful pioneer ready to
keep marching on to the Western World. This shows the brave and determined mindset
of the pioneers. Similarly, many soldiers die every day sacrificing their lives
so that others can experience a better world. Still, these deaths are
celebrated due to the bravery and courage brought from the men who died.

            Imagery
is the ability to use descriptive and vivid words in a text to present a clear
picture in the reader’s mind. For instance, Whitman explains, “We detachments
steady throwing, Down the edges, through the passes, up the mountains steep,
Conquering, holding, daring, venturing, as we go, the unknown ways” (Lines
17-19). Whitman provides a clear image of the journey the pioneers are experiencing
in order to encourage the reader to have an understanding of what the pioneers
are going through. The men are climbing mountains and travelling through unknown
paths to reach the west. By using imagery in this context, the reader is able
to develop deeper emotions for the pioneers’ lifestyle and understand the hard
work and sacrifice they encountered to create a new life for themselves. In
addition, Whitman describes, “We primeval forests felling, We the rivers
stemming, vexing we, and piercing deep the mines within . . . we the virgin soil
upheaving” (Lines 19-21). Whitman uses descriptive language referring to man
cutting down the forests, digging mines, and damming the rivers to show the
union between man and nature. The reader is able to develop a greater appreciation
of the road it took the pioneers to transform the country into a more usable
place for people. It is possible for the reader to feel sympathy for nature due
to the renovating effect man had on it throughout the years. The reader may
also develop feelings of excitement for the pioneers when they first discovered
nature and believed it was never-ending.

            An
allegory is a picture presented in a poem to reflect an overall, more intricate
hidden message. Whitman uses “O’ Pioneers! O’ Pioneers!” to convey the American
idea of the Manifest Destiny. The Manifest Destiny claims it is the destiny of
the U.S. to expand and enhance the political, social, and economic influences on
new territories. For example, Whitman says, “These are of us, they are with us,
all for primal needed work, while the followers there in embryo wait behind, we
to-day’s procession heading, we the route for travel clearing” (Lines 59-61).

Whitman uses this stanza to demonstrate the Manifest Destiny being fulfilled.

His use of the word “procession” demonstrates the march of the pioneers into a
new territory and discovering a new place (America) to offer equality and
freedom for all people. Whitman further enhances the idea of Manifest Destiny
by adding, “while the followers there in Embryo wait behind”. Whitman, in
essence, is referring to the future pioneers in the womb that will become the
new millennium and shape our country. Life is a continual process that which
new life emerges to further enhance the Manifest Destiny as old lives fade
away.

            Whitman’s
poem “O’ Pioneers! O’ Pioneers!” is a detailed and interpretive poem that
further explains his support towards the Westward expansion of America. Through
his use of symbolism, imagery, and allegory, Whitman was able to construct a
poem that allowed the reader to develop a deeper understanding and importance that
the pioneers faced to make America a place of equality and freedom. It is easy
to read through a poem and take the context literally, but breaking down the
poem into concrete, examined lines can reveal a hidden message that you never
knew existed. 

x

Hi!
I'm Rick!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out