Walt Whitman’s poem, “O Captain! My Captain!,” tells of a young man coming back from a battle on a ship. However, the captain has, “fallen cold and dead” (8), and the young man weeps for his captain’s death. Whitman is writing about Abraham Lincoln after he died, Whitman in deep grief and mourning. He captures the funeral of the captain by alluding to Lincoln and soldiers, the grief of someone who is close, changes the tone to match the people and himself, and captures the essence of the United States of America, all as an honor to his favorite president.
Whitman has a double meaning in his poem. Later in the poem, Whitman writes, “for you the flag is flung-for you the bugle trills” (10). Flags are usually waved (or flung) after a group of soldiers comes home from a battle, and …show more content…
It has been mentioned multiple times in the poem, but we never get a good description. Because Whitman is writing about Abraham Lincoln, and the president is the “captain” of America, the ship is none other than America herself. She embodies the hearts and souls of the soldiers who gave their lives, limbs, and hearts to their country. She also embodies the families of the soldiers, many of whom fought on different sides. Lincoln had helped America, “weather’d ev’ry rack” (2). They had sought for the Union to be together again and, “the prize we sought is won!” (2) Lincoln himself had fought and died for the country, and that is what makes the poem so powerful, so striking to the heart. Whitman loved America and Lincoln, and he poured out his heart when the latter died.
Whitman alludes to Lincoln, helps keep the feelings America felt, deals with his grief, and shows America becoming strong again. Whitman does this all to honor the Commander-in-Chief of the United States. Whitman constructs a poem that would forever be talked about in classes around the world, but mostly on the soil where it was written, in the beautiful United States of