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Out of The Cradle Endlessly Rocking

Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking

Walt Whitman, in Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking, presents the reader with metaphors and a glimpse of life's turbulence. Poetry is often difficult for students to understand, especially if literature isn't your major. Get help with explicating poetry like the poems of Walt Whitman from Paper Masters. We provide custom written research and our writers will help you write any paper on Walt Whitman or his poem Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking. Below are a few good ideas to focus on when writing about Whitman's poem:

  • Explore the theme of life's turbulence within the poem.
  • Compare and contrast the various sections, deliberately divided by Whitman.
  • What other themes are within the poem?

Using italics through much of the poem, Whitman emphasizes loneliness and loss. In Section 5, he calls upon the sea winds to blow, while "I wait and I wait, till you blow my mate to me."

That section is preceded by a series of meanderings, in which Whitman recalls memories of not-so-happy times, where a boy (Whitman?) sheds tears and throws himself upon the sand, reminiscing darkly about a more innocent childhood. This same theme re-emerges in Section 6: "Down, almost amid the slapping waves, Sat the lone singer, wonderful, causing tears." And in Section 7, Whitman calls upon the waves to soothe him and asks nature - from the land to the moon - to give him back the mate he loves so much. The section ends in despair, following a series of "O" plaints, in which Whitman expresses the despair his soul feels, and concludes with finality of his emotional grief: "But my love no more, no more with me! We two together no more."

There also is regret expressed, for in Section 9 Whitman longs for the "peaceful child" he once was, something that he will never experience again. The downward emotional spiral continues when the poet says the sea answers him, saying over and over: "Death, Death, Death, Death, Death" (Section 10).

Does the poet really see death as the only outcome? While it might seem that way, there is finally relief from the dark mood in the final section (10), where a more hopeful note sounds. There, Whitman speaks about his own songs being awakened once again, "The word of the sweetest song, and all songs," whispered to him by the sea. I interpreted this final section to mean the poet had finally resolved the heart-wrenching conflicts in his mind and that he was at last at peace with himself. Yet, we are still left with an enigma, for the final line of the poem reads: "The sea whisper'd me." Is the sea now calling him home forever? Or, has Whitman resolved the conflicts within himself? The sea, I feel, is a return to the cradle, for it is endlessly rocking, a rocking that ends only in death.

This is an unanswered question, and a most disturbing one, to which there is no absolute answer.

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