Rhetorical Devices in Whitman

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Details and Delivery: An Examination of Rhetorical Devices in Whitman’s “Hours Continuing Long” The power of the spoken word often goes underestimated in the fast-paced lifestyle that characterizes the modern era in which we live today. Although essentially one may absorb the same ideas and interpretations by reading a certain work of literature from the page and then hearing that same work read aloud, these two separate means of reaching one similar conclusion are radically different experiences in their own. From history we may discern the prevalence and effectiveness of oral tradition before written poetry, and even today it is apparent that aural memory is stronger than any other type of sensory memory. The slight discrepancies of sound within poetry are each significant to the meanings one can gather from it and also the final, vocal delivery of the poem. The gravity of this spoken word is demonstrated in the work of Walt Whitman, who is frequently lauded as the all-American advocate of “democratic” poetry or the use of common language to join individual readers and evoke a sympathetic exchange of experiences. The sound devices and rhetorical devices that Whitman employs in his poem, “Hours Continuing Long,” are used specifically to demonstrate, through using common language, the turmoil and suffering the speaker endures after experiencing unrequited love. Although there is no regular meter, identifiable rhyme pattern or specific line length, Whitman employs the use of free verse effectively. In a sense, the lack of organization concerning the metric pattern reflects the speaker’s innermost feelings of disarray and confusion, both of which are emotions often experienced shortly after heartbreak. Grammatically, each line separately is considered a sentence fragment, yet the effect of the incomplete sentences in this poem is beneficial rather than
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