O Captain My Captain Walt Whitman Analysis

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The Veiled War We are surrounded by warriors. Everyone is fighting their own battles, as someone once said, “Not all scars show, not all wounds heal. Sometimes you can’t always see, the pain someone feels”(Anonymous). The pain people cope with can cause lasting mental problems such as PTSD. PTSD is a mental disorder caused by experiencing traumatic events. Many veterans of combat suffer from PTSD due to the horrific experiences they have been through. Walt Whitman’s O Captain! My Captain! and Owen’s Dulce et Decorum both address the emotional impact of wars and the pain it causes. Owen and Whitman elucidate the emotional effects of war on people through the use of irony and diction;however Owen uses imagery to explore the scarring images in war, while Whitman uses symbolism to …show more content…
Whitman has two key symbols in “O Captain!My Captain!” , the ship and the captain. The ship that “has weather’d every rack”(2) represents the warriors as both have been worn and fatigued. The ship also conveys the emotional effects of combat as it is” grim and daring” (4), as the war left the soldiers mirthless, and emotionally scarred. The captain Whitman has created acts as the friends the soldiers have that had “ fallen cold and dead” (24). Whitman uses this line to end each of his stanzas to emphasize the fact that there were many losses to the war, each one significant to different people. This loss characterized by the Captain further develops the fact that the emotional scars of war are from the deaths of many companions during war. Many people developed friends while they were fighting in wars, the Captain symbolizes the loss of those friends. On the other hand, the captain could also symbolize a “fatherly figure” as the soldiers view him as a father With the use of symbolism, Whitman, like Owen, portrays the painful reality of war and its horrific effects on those

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