“a Noiseless Patient Spider” Response Paper

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February 7, 2011
Assignment 10

Walt Whitman’s use of first person in his poems, allows the reader to be the author’s spectator. It is like the author is talking directly to the reader, which makes the reader feel more comfortable to read the poem and understand it better. However, the author uses first person as a rhetorical device. This leads the reader to pay closely attention to the poem in order to figure out what topic the author is trying to make the reader consider, from his perspective. Whitman’s poem “A Noiseless Patient Spider,” clearly shows this use of first person as a rhetorical device. In the poem, one can realize that Whitman’s use of first person allows the reader to become the author’s observer. In the first stanza, the author depicts how the spider begins to work on its web and shoots out lots of strings, trying to get one of them to stick to something. The author says, “A NOISELESS, patient spider, / I mark'd, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated; / Mark'd how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding, / It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;” (Whitman, 2005). This passage shows how through the author’s description of the spider and what it does, in first person, the reader is observing the spider with and through the author. However, when one read the second stanza, one notice that the author is not only talking about a spider but a rhetorical situation about relating spiders to humans. The author states that the spider tries to discover its surroundings by itself and it is also trying to make connections with others by launching “filament, filament, filament, out of itself” (Whitman, 2005) to avoid isolation.. Humans, as the spider, try to reach for their goals opening themselves to the quest of discovering the world around them and also, connect to others avoiding isolation. The author says, “And you, O my Soul, where you stand, Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space, Ceaselessly...
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