I SIT AND LOOK OUT
Walt Whitman, a prominent American anti war poet, who lived during the times of civil war witnessed the condition around him with his own eyes and transformed it into literature which still stands relevant to our lives today. The advent of capitalism during this time and its rapid proliferation brought with itself several ramifications. Human concerns were relegated and principles were sidelined. In response to all the atrocities, the people looked around and turned a blind eye towards them. They stood as detached observers who did not try to bring about a change. The poem ‘ I sit and look out ‘ reflects the 21st century apathy of a modern observer. It is written in free verse and makes use of the effect known as symbolism. The basic tone of the poem is extremely pessimistic and the poet uses strong visual impactful words, which conjure up to create a strong impact as well as a strong apocalyptical imagery in our minds. Right from the beginning of the poem, one can feel the poet’s disillusionment of the things of the world. He states that he sits and looks out upon ‘ all the sorrows of the world, and upon all oppression and shame’. The words used in these first two lines are extremely pessimistic and negative in nature. People in today’s world do many things that are against the normal norms. These deeds are committed due to their deviant behavior. When such people realize their mistakes, they have within themselves a feeling of shame and humiliation, which slowly eats away their soul. Also, the word ‘oppression’ gives us an insight into how humans today oppress fellow human beings for completely futile reasons. This shame and oppression ultimately gives rise to a feeling of sorrow accompanied by extreme distress and regret. He also goes on to say that he hears ‘ secret convulsive sobs from young men, at anguish with themselves, remorseful after deeds done’. This refers to the soldiers who have been forced to fight and kill in war...
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