Walt Whitman's Poem 'When I Heard The Learn' D Astronomer

Walt Whitman’s poem, “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer,” which is written based on prior experience, presents two different views based around focusing on how people understand certain material. These perspectives are exhibited through a class lecture on astronomy. Whitman wrote this poem based on prior experience. The poem begins with the speaker sitting through an astronomy lecture taught by an astronomer. The lesson focuses on scientific facts and mathematical figures. The information is arranged in proofs, columns, and charts. Supposedly, the lecture is successful because the audience responds “with much applause.” However, the narrator grows “tired and sick” of the lesson and leaves the lecture. The narrator left outside and gazes up at the stars. …show more content…
Whitman’s intention is to show that numbers and diagrams cannot sum up what the universe has to offer. To get a better grasp of a lesson, one must experience the lesson first hand. Whitman’s behavior and actions throughout the poem may appear to be unusual, but they seem common to me. I had a similar experience back in high school. When Whitman stepped outside and gazed up at the stars, there was no mathematical analysis that confined him to seeing the true beauty of the universe. In my situation, notes on a board cannot nearly explain the detailed anatomy of a pig; however, the dissection of a pig can. Being able to see the stars gave Whitman a better understanding of what the universe truly offers, which is beauty, and in comparison, dissecting a pig gave me more insight on how the inside of a pig looked like. Pictures and diagrams aren’t nearly as good as witnessing the lesson at

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