The theme of a poem determines the style a poet will choose for expression. With single-minded determination, both Whitman and Melville strove to illustrate the Civil War with poetry that resounded of the chaos they saw in their land. The inner turmoil of these men as they grappled with understanding is apparent in each collection. Whitman was true to his conviction that universal brotherly love would end all war and strife. Poem after poem in ~ Taps reflects this belief. Even while he recognized the war as a great test of America as the New Eden, and even while doubt swept over him in the hospitals as he ministered to men experiencing horrible agonies, he would not suppress his indomitable conviction that love was the answer. Melville, on the other hand, dealt with the dark realities of human anarchy. He, too, yearned for absolutes, but he always recognized the complicated contexts of any action such as a Civil War. His recognition that all experience is relative caused a war within himself as his mind wore a path between his hard-edged cynicism and his ferocious desire to know the ideal truth. Themes Melville’s Poetry Melville’s “The March into Virginia” is a poem with a rhyme scheme and a defined structure, while Whitman’s “Beat! Beat! Drums!” is loosely organized and seems to only contain figurative language and rhythmic repetition as poetic conventions. Melville employs complex, extended sentences because he intends to develop a philosophical tone with which he can muse over “the champions and enthusiasts of the state” and “turbid ardors and vain joys.” The poem also has an ironic tone, which Melville develops
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 3 pages?