The Assessment of Language

Topics: Metaphor, Willa Cather, Walt Whitman Pages: 4 (1163 words) Published: August 21, 2014
The Language Used to Connect With Nature

Willa Cather, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman all utilize different forms of language to make themes in their writings. Through personification, symbolism, and various rhetorical devices, we can connect to nature through O Pioneers!, “There’s a Certain Slant of Light,” and “Song of Myself.” These languages are used in these pieces to connect us with nature.

Cather uses personification to connect us to nature. By personifying nature, she makes it seem like it’s a character, not just a setting. Winter has settled down again over the Divide again; the season in which Nature recuperates, in which she sinks to sleep between the fruitfulness of autumn and the passion of spring. (73) Winter “settle[s] down again” and nature “recuperates” and “sinks to sleep,” Cather uses this personification to allow us to see deeper into nature, and see it as a person, a character, a thing that possesses qualities. Whitman uses the same style of personification. In “Song of Myself” Whitman claims that “Nature [is] without check [and] with original energy” (410, line 13). Whitman personifies nature as unkempt, untamed and wild, much like a person could be. This draws us to nature, it makes us want to know it more, so learn it, much like we would want to know and understand a character in a book. Dickinson personifies nature in a mysterious way.

There’s a certain slant of light,
Winter Afternoons-
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes- (435)
It’s understood that the light is oppressive much like heavy tunes, but it’s not understood why Dickinson would personify it this way. Light, a part of nature, can be oppressive, much like a person, and we can connect to the oppressiveness of the light, we can imagine it holding someone or something back, much like a person physically could. Cather, Whitman and Dickinson all personify nature differently, but we still connect with it because its like a character to us, it gets...
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