O Me O Life

Good Essays
Topics: Poetry
“O Me! O Life!”: An Analysis “O Me! O Life!” uses different types of poetic devices, including: apostrophe, alliteration, and repetition. In the title, and throughout the poem, Whitman uses apostrophe. For example, “O Me! O Life!... of the questions of these recurring;” (Whitman, 1) Another poetic device the author uses is alliteration. In the course of the poem, Whitman uses the vowel sound “o” consistently. Repetition is used all throughout this poem. For illustration, Walt Whitman repeats “O Me! O Life!” numerous times. The content of “O Me! O Life!” furthers this poem's journey to greatness. In this poem, Walt Whitman explores the essential human question: “Should I take this risk?” He simply solves this quandary by saying, “Yes.” “O Me! O Life!” says “That you are here- that life exists, and identify; That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse” (Whitman, 9) In the last two lines, he answers these questions proving that he understands life as a whole. Walt Whitman displays this understanding by explaining life in the last stanza, as well. While reading “O Me! O Life!” out loud, one stumbles across dashes, commas, and certain phrases that are strategically placed that forces the reader to pause and reflect on what was just spoken. The ellipsis points in the first line of the first stanza forces the reader to emphasize the first words, “O {text:soft-page-break} Me! O Life!” and then makes the reader slow down and put strong emphasis on “of the questions of these recurring;” (Whitman, 1) In the line, “Of the poor results of all- of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;”, the dash provides a crucial pause to show the reader that the speaker is speaking to himself, and is in need of a pause. A simple question-answer sequence in the last line of the first stanza and the first line of the last stanza provides a clear and concise summary of “O Me! O Life!”. “...What good amid these, O me, O life? Answer. That you are here-

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