Excerpt coming from Essay:
Whitman, Harper, Alcott
American literature in the nineteenth century is always concerned with democracy: by the time of the U. T. Civil Warfare the American democratic research was not even a century older, and as a result freelance writers remained incredibly sensitive until the end in the century toward questions of whether or not America was capable of living up to the high beliefs that it acquired set to get itself in its founding documents. An examination of some rep nineteenth 100 years American works – Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, inch Harper’s “A Double Standard” and “The Deliverance, inch and Louisa May Alcott’s story “Work” – can demonstrate the fact that failings of yankee democracy had been a subject all of these writers had in common.
Whitman is commonly thought of as the poet who champions American democracy, but “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” is a poem that contains grave doubts. We note this kind of most naturally as Whitman’s long moving stanzas abruptly dry up into a more terse and uncharacteristic form, which usually seems to show doubt:
What is it, then, among us?
Precisely what is the depend of the scores or hundreds of years between all of us?
Whatever it truly is, it avails not – distance avails not, make avails certainly not.
I as well lived – Brooklyn, of ample hillsides, was my very own;
I too walked the streets of Manhattan Island, and bathed in the oceans around it;
I too felt the curious abrupt questionings mix within me
In the working day, among throngs of people, sometimes they came upon me
In my walks home later at night, or as I place in my foundation, they came upon me. (Whitman 1867)
The poet has been joined with the crowd of commuters who have are crossing Brooklyn Ferry to and from work in Manhattan. But by this eleventh stanza, Whitman is all of a sudden struck with a seeming panic as to whether there may be anything coherent about the multitudes: “What is it, in that case, between all of us? ” This individual ends up claiming that “distance” and “place” do not subject, although the terseness of the one-line stanza shows that the answer would not satisfy him, and indeed another stanza echoes of “curious abrupt questionings” that come to him amongst “crowds of folks. ” Following this the poet has to come back to his personal history, plus more particularly his own body system, to try to get something in common with the audience: by the end in the poem he has attempted to prove that in some way these “solids and fluids” are proof of a common soul. But what jars many about the poem is its appearing crisis of faith in the that means of a democratic crowd of individuals, and whether there is any kind of common purpose.
Harper and Alcott in their differing techniques also problem the meaning from the collective democratic whole in American your life, but they do so more specifically via a women’s