Hector Manuel Alcaraz
THIRD ESSAY ON WHITMAN
Walt Whitman starts this poem just as he usually does, repeating the title as
the first sentence, making the reader assimilate the gray and dim
atmosphere, blending with a picture of a sleep depraved narriator. Having
the poem just started we raise the question why is he so sleepless if its
morning. It can be hard for us to grasp the true meaning of this word
because when we wake up we do so fully rested in a time of peace and
prosperity of the United States, not being the case during Whitman’s Civil
War times, so perhaps it was a night with bullet sounds, full of battle
screams, or maybe they were losing the war*. We can’t really know for sure
kept him up.
Then comes a number, the number three and given that at the end of the
poem he mentions Christ, as a catholic, I’m inclined to think that Whitman
knows this is a very religious number and chose it on purpose. However, at
this point it seems a bit adventurous so lets leave the thought alone for now.
In the next paragraph, from the word “curious” to “blanket” the tone that the
narrator wishes to convey becomes more evident to the reader because of
the repetitive use of the words “I” and “the” for example, “the face of”, “the
nearest”, “the first just”, and “the blanket”, almost as if he were stuttering
with nervousness and fear of the uncertain, sparked by his curiosity.
Right up next the three faces are unveiled: and elderly man, a sweet boy, and
a young man perhaps at his early thirties (33?). So taken in account the
disparity of age above, another question rises, was there no age boundaries
for battle in soldiers? Had they no regard for kids yet to mature and grow
older? Well it seems as if everybody and anybody could be called to serve at
And then Christ in the third and last blanket, we must say it’s quite
intriguing to find this...
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