Symbolism In The Wound Dresser, By Walt Whitman

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“The Wound-Dresser,” by Walt Whitman, is a gruesome poem that brings his readers face to face with the cruel realities of war. The wound-dresser is about the nurse talking about the fatally injured victims of Civil War and how he had taken care of them. Whitman himself was a nurse in the battle field. This poem allows the readers to see what he saw, and feel what he felt. His main theme that I found is that he used literary techniques to emphasis his writing, showed that nurses also could be brave as soldiers, and pointed out the reality of the society.
The literary techniques that he used is symbolism. He symbolized the society using the patient in line 48 (1457). He used symbolism to note the reality of the society. I will later describe
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But Whitman prominently pointed out the duty of doctors and nurses “behind the scene”. He acknowledged that nurses are “unsurpass’d heroes” just like soldiers fighting in the battle fields (1455). Not only nurses are brave, the narrator intended to implant the fact that nurses also face cruel and horrible scenes everyday like soldiers. On line 38 of “The Wound Dresser”, it stated, “[y]et I think I could not refuse this moment to die for you, if that would save you” (1456). In this quote, the narrator resented the fact that he cannot do anything but to watch the dying patient. But thinking to die for someone is not an easy thought. It’s the feeling that one can feel for who he or she cares the most. As a nurse, he thought it’s his duty to “sit by the wounded and soothe them” (1455). And not only soothe them, nurses try their best to save them. But when the nurse has nothing to do but to watch the dying patient in horrific pain, nurses would feel almost guilty that they could not save the patient. That is what narrator told the readers. He could not do anything but to watch the dying patient, so he said he wanted to die for him insead, but at the same time, he was also brave to die for the patient.
Another idea that narrator noted to us is that nurses also face the brutal fields. It needs courage to watch and face the cruel scenes. The soldier was not only one that was brave to face the brutal war. The nurse “was equally brave” (1455). He had to see “amputated hand” and “undo the clotted lint, remove the slough, wash off the matter and blood” (1457). And he also faced the soldier with “curv’d neck and side-falling head” (1457). This is not what everyone can do every day. To look at these scenes every day, nurses must have

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