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Henry david thoreau http eserver org thoreau walden00 html

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

Leaves of grass






Democratic Poet

Civil War Poem


Leaves of Grass

Walt whitman 1819 1892 vs emily dickinson 1830 1886


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

Define the following words associated with diction

  • Colloquialism

  • Vernacular

  • Idiomatic

  • Dialect

  • Connotation

  • Denotation

  • jargon

Emily dickinson

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

  • 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

Henry david thoreau eserver


“Faith” is a fine invention

When Gentlemen can see-

But Microscopes are prudent

In an Emergency

Henry david thoreau eserver

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

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

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

“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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