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Henry David Thoreauhttp://eserver.org/thoreau/walden00.html

On Walden Pond



  • Allegory – an extended narrative in prose or verse in which characters, events, and settings represent abstract qualities and in which the writer intends a second meaning to be read beneath the surface story

  • Parable – a short tale illustrating a moral lesson; a parable is often an allegory that parallels the situation to which it is being applied






Democratic Poet

Civil War Poem


Leaves of Grass


Worked with bold strokes on a broad canvas


Public spokesman for the masses

Universal Brotherhood

“If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.”

Dickinson: Worked with the delicacy of a minimalist

Private and shy

Obscure/nobody – peering through the curtains of her house.

Found in nature metaphors for her spirit and recorded without a thought of her audience.

“This is my letter to the world that never spoke to me.”

Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892) vs. Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Define the following words associated with diction

  • Colloquialism

  • Vernacular

  • Idiomatic

  • Dialect

  • Connotation

  • Denotation

  • jargon

Emily Dickinson

  • The recluse of Amherst

  • Fell in love with three men - 2 married

  • Published only a handful of poems during her life.

  • Slant Rhyme

  • Irony – tone, incongruity, sarcasm, mockery, satire

  • Metaphors

  • Personification

  • Puns

  • Lyric Poems – expressing intense spontaneous feelings

  • Occasional Poems

  • Forced pauses – dashes

  • Capitalizations

This Is My Letter to the World

  • This is my letter to the World

  • That never wrote to Me-

  • The simple News that Nature told-

  • With tender Majesty

  • Her message is committed

  • To Hands I cannot see-

  • For love of Her- Sweet-countrymen-

  • Judge tenderly-of me


“Faith” is a fine invention

When Gentlemen can see-

But Microscopes are prudent

In an Emergency

Much Madness is divinest Sense-

To a discerning Eye-

Much Sense-the starkest Madness-

‘Tis the Majority

In this, as All, prevail-

Assent-and you are sane-

Demur-you’re straightway dangerous-

And handled with a Chain-



  • Expansive or economical?

  • Is the writing tight and efficient, or elaborate and long-winded? When does the author use one or another and why?

  • Are the words simple or fancy? Are they technical, flowery, colloquial, cerebral, punning, obscure?

Diction vocabulary

  • Colloquial – characteristic of ordinary conversation rather than formal speech or writing.

  • Vernacular - The common native language of a country or region; common, everyday speech; the language common to a profession.

  • Idiomatic – a language, dialect or style of speaking peculiar to a people “snap”

  • Jargon – vocabulary peculiar to a particular trade

  • Dialect – a variety of a language used by a group of speakers who are set off from others geographically or socially (Jim)

Dickinson Poems

  • 241

  • I like a look of Agony,

  • Because I know it’s true-

  • Men do not sham Convulsion-

  • Nor simulate, a Throe-

  • The eyes glaze once-and that is Death-

  • Impossible to feign

  • The Beads upon the Forehead

  • By homely Anguish strung

“Because I Could Not Stop for Death”

  • Analyze each stanza

  • Select the tone and which words establish the tone


  • 650

  • Pain-has an Element of Blank

  • It cannot recollect

  • When it Begun-or if there were

  • A time when it was not-

  • It has no Future-but itself-

  • Its Infinite contain

  • Its Past-enlightened to perceive

  • New Periods-of Pain

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