People Innovation Excellence
 

Comparative analysis of ‘The Gift Outright’ and ‘For you o Democracy’ poems

by Alessandro

10659152_844793488888037_1985401570972656319_n* 5th semester student

The Gift Outright
By Robert Frost
The land was ours before we were the land’s.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England’s, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.

Young Frost, image from: http://innerlea.com/aulit/garden/stormFear/notes/gNote.html
Young Frost, image from: http://innerlea.com/aulit/garden/stormFear/notes/gNote.html

For You O Democracy
By Walt Whitman
Come, I will make the continent indissoluble,
I will make the most splendid race the sun ever shone upon,
I will make divine magnetic lands,
With the love of comrades,
With the life-long love of comrades.

I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America,
and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over the prairies,
I will make inseparable cities with their arms about each other’s necks,
By the love of comrades,
By the manly love of comrades.

For you these from me, O Democracy, to serve you ma femme!
For you, for you I am trilling these songs.

Walt Whitmanhttp://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/walt-whitman. From:
Walt Whitman, From: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/walt-whitman.

 

Analysis

Lineation
The first poem is actually a free verse since it does not have any particular rhyme scheme and regular length of sentences. It consists of sixteen lines and it is not divided into stanzas. This poetry is one with hypotactic syntax because it uses some conjunctions, prepositions, noun clause, adjective clause, and that clause in order to create unique complexity. The conjunctions used in the first poem are before, but, and until which can be found in “The land was ours before we were the land’s”, “She was our land more than a hundred years before we were her people”, “But we were England’s, still colonials”, and in “Something we were withholding made us weak until we found out that it was ourselves”. The noun clause is in “Possessing what we still were unpossessed by”. The adjective clause can be found in “Something we were withholding made us weak”. The last one is that clause which is in “Until we found out that it was ourselves”. Talking about the lines, this poetry is not a concrete poem since it does not create any image interpretation.
There are three stanzas in the second poem, two of which consist of five lines called, and the other one consists of two lines. A conjunction and prepositions are used in this poetry. There is also a complex sentence in this poem, which really ensures that this poetry is one with hypotactic syntax. The conjunction is used in “I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America, and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over the prairies”. The first preposition is used in “I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America”. The second one is in “I will make inseparable cities with their arms about each other’s necks”, the third one is in “For you these from me, O Democracy, to serve you ma femme”, and the last one is in “For you, for you I am trilling these songs” The complex sentence is in “I will make the most splendid race the sun ever shone upon” because this sentence consists of one dependent and one independent clause. Like the previous poem, this poem certainly is not a concrete as it does not make the readers visualize any image.

Enjambment

There are some enjambments which could be found in the first poem. “She was our land more than a hundred years Before we were her people. She was ours” is the first enjambment. The second one is in “Before we were her people. She was ours In Massachusetts, in Virginia”. The next one is in “Something we were withholding made us weak Until we found out that it was ourselves”. The last one is in “Such as we were we gave ourselves outright To the land vaguely realizing westward” These are all the sentences in which the enjambment process occurs because there is incomplete syntax at the end of some lines. On the other way around, there is no enjambment in the second poem as there is no incomplete syntax at the end of the lines. Correct punctuations are used at the end of each of the lines, making this poem have no enjambment.
Rhyme Scheme
The Gift Outright: This is considered to be a free verse. The reason for this is that it does not have any consistent rhyme. This simply makes the poem find its own shape. Below is the excerpt of the poem:
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright

For You O Democracy: Unlike the previous poem, this one is not a free verse.Below is the rhyme scheme:
A E H
B F I
C G
D D
D D
Imagery
In the first poem, organic imagery, which pertains the feelings of body, is used in “Something we were withholding made us weak”.
In the second poem, the visual imagery is used in “I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America, and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over the prairies” and in “I will make inseparable cities with their arms about each other’s necks”. Another imagery used in this poem is auditory imagery as in “For you, for you I am trilling these songs”.

Figurative Language

In the first poem, the first figurative language used is personification. The use of this figurative language can be found in “She was our land more than a hundred years before we were her people”. This sentence is the paraphrase of the previous line. It can be inferred that the word “she” refers to the land in the previous line. Land is not a living thing, but the land is replaced by the pronoun “she” which always refers to a living thing. The figurative language of paradox is used in “The deed of gift was many deeds of war” because this statement appears to be absurd and contradictory. Another impressive use of paradox is in “And forthwith found salvation in surrender” as this conveys the state that salvation was found in surrender whereas in most cases, what is found in surrender is morose feelings. Another figurative language is synecdoche as in the word ‘gift’ which actually represents the history of America. It uses a term for a part of something to refer to the whole of something. There is also a rare figurative language which is used in this poem. It is called chiasmus when two successive phrases or clauses are parallel in syntax even though the order of the analogous words is reversed. The use of chiasmus could be found in “The land was ours before we were the land’s”. There is also a figurative language called anastrophe which can be found in “Possessing what we still were unpossessed by”. “Deed of gift” and “deed of war” is the use of metaphor. “Deed of gift” refers to the certificates of possessing a land and “deed of war” refers to sacrificial actions to posses the land.
In the second poem, the use of simile could be found in “I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America” because it compares the companionship to the trees with “as”. The comparison is made explicit. “For you these from me, O Democracy, to serve you ma femme!” is the line in which the figurative language of apostrophe is used. Democracy is an absent idea but the speaker of the poem seems to be having the presence of something as if it were a person. The speaker also addresses something to democracy while the democracy cannot answer back. The use of hyperbole can be found in “I will make the most splendid race the sun ever shone upon”. In fact, the sun shines every race in this world. Making the most splendid race does not necessarily mean that the sun will only shine that race. It is inferred that the persona wants a race that has its own special characteristic. The use of metaphor is used in “I will make divine magnetic lands”. The word ‘magnetic’ certainly does not mean that the lands have magnetic power. Instead, it figuratively means lands that are attractive to people because of something great which the lands have. The use of metaphor is also used in “I will make the continent indissoluble “since the word ‘indissoluble’ is not a literally correct word to give information about the continent. The literal meaning of the word ‘indissoluble’ is unbreakable and cannot be destroyed. It simply means that the persona wants to have a strong continent in which the relation between the people and the government is enormously strong.

Another use of metaphor is in “I will make inseparable cities with their arms about each other’s necks”. ‘Arms’ and ‘necks’ must mean something else because cities in fact do not have such organs. No cities are literally separable. These could figuratively mean the strong relationship among cities, and also mean or refer to the people, as well as the government, who support each other from different cities. The last use of metaphor is in “to serve u ma femme!” since the femme refers to the land of America.
Poetic Voice
Persona
As a matter of fact, the persona of the first poem is the puritans who came all the way from England to America. The fifth line proves that they were people from England and the first three lines depict the state in which they once tried to possess the land of America. In the thirteenth line, there is a talk about war. In America, those who are involved in a war are all men, and women have their own duty. “She” replaces the land, and the persona wants to possess it. Hence the persona in this poem is a man.

From the lines in the second poem, it is obvious that the persona of the poem is an American. The persona has fellows with whom the persona has been for quite long time to create the idealized America. The fellows are Americans, and the persona is of course American as well. The eleventh line says “For you these from me, O Democracy, to serve you ma femme!” in which ‘ma femme’ means my woman, making sure that the persona is a man who needs a woman.
Setting
The place setting of the first poem is in America as the persona is now an American who was once from England. The persona expresses and exposes his feelings when they are about to have a revolutionary war.

In the second poem, the place setting of the poem is in America. As someone reads the poem, the person will get the sense that the place setting is in America. The persona in the poem wants to fulfill his dreamed America after the war which caused death and massive destruction. Thus, the time setting is when the Americans have finished the revolutionary war.

Mood

The mood or emotion of the persona in the first poem is mixed. In the first five lines, the persona appears to be having a morose and melancholy feeling. The persona expresses something which is no longer pleasant. The mood of the persona begins to change in the line eight up to fifteen. In these lines, the persona shows patriotism and feels proud. The persona feels free because they identity is no longer linked to England as the way it used to be. In the last line, the persona soon finds a hope for the future of America.

In the second poem, the mood or emotion that the persona has is optimism because the persona is quite confident and energetic to realize what the persona wants America to be. In addition to this, the persona does not feel lonely. Instead, the persona feels a strong togetherness with the comrades.

Theme

In the first poem, the theme is about land ownership, patriotism, manifest destiny, and the relation between America and Americans. The poem talks about how people try to possess the land, how people belong to the land and how the land belongs to the people. The poem describes how puritans from England once possessed Massachusetts and Virginia while they are still tied to England which is colonial. They found that the land is possessed by a country which they no longer belong to anymore.

The theme is the second poem is about patriotism, hope, solid companionship, and democracy. It is a hope to realize and create an idealized America and patriotism to do the best for the country. This could be found in “Come, I will make the continent indissoluble”, “I will make the most splendid race the sun ever shone upon”, and in “I will make divine magnetic lands”. In the second stanza, the lines suggest how strong the relationship between the persona and his fellows. It could be seen in “I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America” and in “I will make inseparable cities with their arms about each other’s necks”.

Similarities

One of the similarities which is very obvious is that the poems are both about America. The first poem explains how the America’s history as a nation from the time of European colonists. The second poem illustrates how the persona wants America to be and the connection between America, the “continent indissoluble”, and the friendship. Another similarity is in the togetherness expressed in each poem. In the first poem, ‘we’ and ‘ours’ are used many times to show how strong their relationship is. In the second poem, “with the love of comrades” also creates such a strong relationship. Both poems use many figurative languages to make the poems more poetic. The place setting of both poems is in the land of America.

Differences

The first one is a free verse, meaning that it does not have any consistent rhyme. The second one is not a free verse since it still has rhymes which flow nicely. The first poem describes the history of America as a nation while the second one is more about a hope for the future of America. Robert Frost wrote the poem to recite it in the Kennedy inauguration day while Walt Whitman wrote the poem for different purpose. Whereas the enjambment process occurs in the first poem, it completely does not occur in the second poem. There is a melancholy and grief feeling in the beginning of the first poem. In the second poem, there is no such a feeling whatsoever.

Lesson
Relating to these two poems, there is a famous quote which says “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country”. These poems also encourage everybody to do the best for their countries.

The thirteenth line of the first poem is in parentheses, insisting that the memory of war is not supposed to be forgotten regardless of whether the war carries good or bad impacts on the country. The whole context of the poem emphasizes that the “we” of the poem is the white settlers who came from England, instead of the truly original “owners” of the land.
In the second poem, the last two lines of the first as well as the second stanza are specially placed. The purpose is to suggest that the love of comrades are meant to be easily noticeable and should always be kept in heart. The Walt Whitman’s goal is to create faithful companionship America.

 Conclusion
These two poems are both about America. One of the two poems explains about the history of America as a nation. The poem also tells that the people coming from England did not possess the land of America despite their inhabiting the land for quite a long time. They tried to create and draw a national identity to the land but they could not make it due to the fact that they were still tied to England. The second poem is about the connection between America and the Americans. In both poems, that how much the land means to each persona is one important thing to be seen. Not only are these two poems interesting to analyze, but they are also worth comparing. The differences make these two poems have their own uniqueness.

 

 

 

 


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