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Theme of When I Heard the Learned Astronomer

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When I Heard the Learned Astronomer by the famous poet, Walt Whitman, is referencing a tiring lecture that the speaker once heard from an astronomer. The poem emanates that the mysteries of nature cannot just be condensed by facts and figures. The speaker showed his dissatisfaction of how everything is explained with mathematical logic. The speaker conveys that true wisdom is gained once one walks alongside nature to understand nature’s mysteries. Whitman’s poems have the consistent theme of human relations towards nature. Also, he expresses the ideology of individualism. Lastly, he shows his fascination with the miracles in the world. All these relate to the poem “When I Heard the Learned Astronomer.” Whitman uses anaphora in the first 4 lines of the word “When” to empathize the speakers point of view. The poem also includes assonance, consonance, and alliteration to make the poem’s wording easier to read. Whitman incorporates a hyperbole and parallel expression with “rising and gliding out.” The speaker is not actually gliding out, but he is very smooth with leaving.

Emily Dickinson’s “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” is an iconic romantic poem about isolation and loneliness, questioning any reasonings for attention. Overall, this poem praises quietness and anonymity. This poem suggests that being separated from everyone else does not mean you’re feeling lonely. It means that each person has his/her own morals and virtues. It reassures the shy, closed off introverts that their way of life is just fine as it is. This poem is short but has a great effect on someone’s emotions or attitude, which relates to her other poems. This poem opens with a oxymoron by the speaker introducing themselves, but instead of saying their real name they call themselves “Nobody.” So, the absence of their name comforts others that they can be “a nobody” too. Even though the speaker implies they are not really alone. Just because someone doesn’t draw attention to themselves doesn’t make them an outcast to their own form of a community. Then, she makes a paradox in her poem. Stating, how there is a connection between two people without needing attention from others. These people are a part of their form of a community who values their shyness or just prefers to be alone. Dickinson also uses imagery to appeal to the senses with “longlive June” or “admiring Bog,” making vivid images for the readers.

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Written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Young Goodman Brown,” is a short story about Goodman Brown versus his guilt and paranoia. In the beginning of the story, there is a contrast between the innocence of the pink ribbon and the wicked city, Salem. The household symbolizes the turning point, representing how Goodman can be a good husband and stay home with his wife or seek after his curiosity of going out alone into the night. Goodman’s guilt is conveyed for leaving his wife, Faith. Goodman also fears that Faith knows about his sinful purpose, and he is afraid of being discovered as a sinner. However, Goodman believes he is one of the Elect, predestined to go to heaven, because of his wife’s holiness, that’ll make him holy too. He assumes that no harm will be done after he commits his sin. The woods symbolizes fear and possibility of what can happen. For Goodman Brown, sin is hidden in the woods all around him. Goodman starts to fear that the devil took the form of a man who closely resembles him. This means that the devil is among the Puritans as well as he is among the “heathens.” The staff symbolizes the loss of innocence represented by Adam and Eve when the serpent tempts them. Goodman has a choice to go back home or to go onward. He starts to measure his goodness out to his family connections, his wife, and his own community. However, Goodman Brown keeps going onward, asserting himself that his ancestors hid their evil behavior with their appearance of holiness. He reveals his family members, the Purtian leaders, and everyone in his community are sinners. Goodman Brown then believes only his wife is truly good, so Faith is symbolic for his responsibility of religion and his own wife. Until, the falling ribbon is the sign of Faith’s loss of innocence. Goodman’s final resistance against the devil leaves him alone, foreshadowing the separation between him and his community and family, forever. This affects the readers feeling hopeless as if nothing is good in the world. The story slowly starts to lose more and more hope. Then, at the end, Goodman Brown dies with no faith and alone in his paranoia. This story relates to his others with a dark and gloomy theme. He used metaphors and symbols to teach a lesson to his readers, and used the themes of sin, guilt and hypocrisy to get the lesson across. In this short story, Hawthorne’s lesson is that there is always evil in every facet of life.


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