O Captain My Captain and the Funeral Train: The Effect of Abraham Lincoln's Death

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Mecca Nelson
Mrs. Balas & Ms. Delivuk
Period 8
2/7/13

Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman show the effect the death of a great President has on the nation in their two pieces “O Captain! My Captain!” and “The Funeral Train.” They include significant details such as the amounts of people affected and the shock of the nation due to this tragic event. Whitman and the American people in Sandburg’s piece have two unique but somewhat similar responses to Lincoln’s assassination.

In “The Funeral Train.”, by Carl Sandburg, there is an unbelievably large turn out of people during the President’s burial march. As Lincoln’s funeral car drove along its 1,700 mile journey, it is amazing how many on-lookers show up just to watch and show respect to their President for one last time. Some stood in the rain and other bad weather conditions. In Ohio, authorities make the decision that there is not a building with ample room to house all that may be coming, so when Lincoln arrives, his ceremony was held outside. There is and estimated number in the millions of the amount of people who view the dead President during his memorable funeral procession.

Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!” focuses on how shocked the American people were by this tragedy. He tells of how great of a president he was. People buy bouquets and wreaths to honor him. They really do a lot because he deserves it. The exclamation points in the title also show that it is a surprising and chaotic event. He is also very repetitive, almost like he is trying to convince himself as well as readers that this is really true. The piece simplifies and brings to reality that a great leader is gone.

Both authors tackle major, but different points on Abraham Lincoln’s death, however, they do agree on some. Both authors explain that this has definitely touched the nation as a whole; maybe even world wide. There is nothing good that comes out of this. It is very painful to the nation. In the poem, Whitman talks about...
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