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Walt Whitman Writing Styles in When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer

This Study Guide consists of approximately 25 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer.
This section contains 553 words
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Style

Diction

One of Whitman's most important stylistic devices in "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" is his extremely careful choice of wording, or diction. When, in lines 2 and 3, the meaning of the poem stresses the ordered and categorical process of science and mathematics, Whitman's language is full of mathematical words such as "proofs," "figures," "charts," and "measure." Or, when he is attempting to suggest the actual and magnificent nature of the night sky, Whitman describes the speaker's wandering with the words, "rising and gliding," which suggest the behavior of the stars or astronomical bodies themselves. This language is not simply descriptive; it is meant to bring out the poet's thematic goals because of the resonance of the words in the reader's mind.

Another example of the importance of diction to the poem is Whitman's use of the common language of everyday speech, such as the contraction "learn'd" for "learned...

(read more from the Style section)

This section contains 553 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer Study Guide
Copyrights
When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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