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Essay Two Draft Two

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

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Pham 1 S tephanie Pham A. Shaw English 1102 October 4, 2010 The Death of Lincoln and Nature Metaphors While “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom” is a public poem about Lincoln's assassination, it is mainly an outlet for Whitman to express his private mourning over the death of the beloved president. There is extensive figurative language throughout this elegy that primarily takes the form of tropes; more specifically, Whitman employs extended metaphors of nature to convey the enormity of loss he experienced at Lincoln's passing as well as his gradual acceptance of death as a part of life. One of the metaphors utilized in “Lilacs in the Dooryard Bloom” that highlights Whitman's devastation at the death of Lincoln is the lilac flower. Arguably, the lilacs are the most important symbol in the poem because they are first objects mentioned in the initial line of the poem. In the first stanza, the speaker notes that the flowers are perennial and come back each spring. Coincidentally, Lincoln was killed in April, and the narrator 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 usual human tendencies, which generally classify the yearly emergence of spring as a time of happiness, awakening, or rebirth. As a result, the speaker's mourning of spring reveals the extent of his pain over Lincoln. Additionally, the lilac can also be interpreted as a representation of Lincoln. In stanza 3, the speaker observes a lilac bush and describes the flower as “delicate,” giving the sense that Lincoln was gentle in
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Pham 2 nature. To emphasize the fragility of Lincoln, the speaker snaps off a sprig of lilac from the bush,
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