Tennyson vs. Whitman Essay

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God, the supreme force, the white light, the source of all moral authority, the intangible at which we gaze in pure perplexity, with nothing but fear and hope. Nature, the unknown, the beauty, the stimulant of curiosity, the tangible at which we gaze in pure perplexity, with admiration, doomed for eternity to neglect all of its grandiosity. The interchangeability of the two terms has sparkled controversy over the last few centuries, and the debate has inevitably reached the overflowing grounds of literature. Two geniuses of English poetry, Alfred Tennyson and Walt Whitman, made a gallant contribution to the subject by artistically putting into comparison both concepts. Tennyson's “In Memoriam AHH” represents Nature as being independent of the divine, while Whitman's “Song of Myself” serves as a paragon of the pantheistic viewpoint. Before venturing into the analysis of the poem, one must first become familiar with the story behind it. Tennyson began working on his magnum opus shortly after the death of his beloved friend Arthur Henry Hallam, which explains the treatment of such dark themes and thus the 17-year commitment to the oeuvre. The loss of our dear ones often invokes deep questioning of our convictions, and the British poet reflects his “inquest” throughout all of the 133 cantos. The conflict reigning from stanza to stanza is that of God and Nature. Tennyson depicts both forces as being "at strife" (Tennyson 25). Indeed, not only does he do so explicitly, but also on a subliminal level. Tone plays a crucial role in our perception of the idea as the speaker portrays Nature as a behemoth "red in tooth and claw" (Tennyson 55). The mental image is further established by the allusion to other fantastic creatures "that tare each other in their slime" (Tennyson 63). The usage of negatively connoted words shape in the reader a feeling of gloominess, and

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