Walt Whitman's to a Locamotive in Winter

Topics: Walt Whitman, Free verse, Emily Dickinson Pages: 1 (316 words) Published: March 9, 2006
Walt Whitman's "To A Locamotive in Winter" and Emily Dickinson's "I Like to See It Lap The Miles" are two very different poems about the same subject. Where Whitman uses strictly free verse, Dickinsons work is much more structured, with poynient line breaks, and punctuation. Their styles of personification also differ greatly. Where Whitman's work is almost an ode to the locomotive, Dickinson's is more a feeling of a journey. Another major difference in these works is the language they use. Where Whitman uses "old english" with thee and thy, Dickinson uses a fairly modern vocabulary.

As I peruse these works, the first thing I notice is the language. Dickinson is far simpler to read than Whitman's, only because of her updated vocabulary. However, some of the descriptors that Whitman uses, are in the least, beautiful. Words such as "Panoply, madly-whistled laughter, and free skies unpent.." Dickinson shouldent be left out however. She can throw around some beautiful phrases as well; "prodigeous step, punctual as a star, and Docile and Omnipotent" were some of my favorites. These works paint two very different pictures of trains by having different tones, and vocabularies.

Technique is another major difference in these works, where Whitman uses freeverse to show the free spirited train, thats ironically tied down to its tracks. While Dickinson uses very punctual line breaks, and hyphens separating the lines. Giving the poem a choppy, stop and go feeling. These two techniques separate the poems even more. It's facinating to me what a simple indentation can do for a work.

When I look at the syle, and the language, those are minuscule differences compared to the style of personification used in these works. Whitman has a worshipping style, giving the train a larger than life appearance, almost as if he is describing a mythical beast, or something of that nature.
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