Essay Two Draft Three - Pham 1 Stephanie Pham A. Shaw...

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Pham 1 Stephanie Pham A. Shaw English 1102 October 11, 2010 Nature and Death in “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom” “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom” is a public poem about Lincoln's assassination, but it is also an outlet for author Walt Whitman to express his private mourning over the death of the president. Extensive figurative language is observed in this elegy, which tracks the speaker's progression through the grieving process. In particular, Whitman employs nature symbols such as lilacs and stars to convey the enormity of loss he felt at Lincoln's passing as well as birds to express his gradual acceptance of death as a part of life. Arguably, the lilac flower is the most important symbol utilized in the poem because it implicitly highlights Whitman's devastation at the death of Lincoln by comparing it to Lincoln himself. For the duration of the work, Whitman writes the poem in such a way that the reader is forced to follow the journey of the speaker as he travels to various places. In the beginning, the speaker stands next to a lilac bush, nothing that they are perennial and come back each spring. He is reminded of Lincoln, who was killed in April, and perceives the continual blooming of lilacs as a reminder of his death, remarking that “[he] mourn'd and yet shall mourn with ever- returning spring”(line 3). This contrasts the usual perception of spring, which generally classifies it as a time of happiness, awakening, or rebirth. Consequently, the speaker's mourning of such a joyful time reveals the extent of his pain over Lincoln. As the speaker continues to observe the lilac bush, he describes the flower as “delicate.” In a sudden motion, the speaker snaps off a sprig
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Essay Two Draft Three - Pham 1 Stephanie Pham A. Shaw...

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