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Poe and Whitman Figurative Language

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    1. Edgar Allan Poe’s figurative language, such as personifying science as something that preys, gives his presentation of science a negative effect. It is plausible to believe that Poe is angry with science in some kind of way, claiming it “preyest thou thus along the poet’s heart” and he asks, “How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise?” 2. According to Poe’s speaker, science has done nothing for him except preyed on him and over-analyzed the simplicity of all the things around him. Poe’s romanticism and science don’t mix well together, in other words. Poe says that science seeks treasure in the jeweled skies – but what if there is no real “treasure”? It seems like Poe is upset with science trying to pick things out of everything. 3. According to Poe’s speaker, science has changed the world by altering “all things with thy peering eyes”. I think this means that science has a way of changing everything, both in good and bad ways. 4. I don’t even think this is an ode…its tones towards science are expressed as negative, while odes are more celebratory. That being said, I find it much more critical than laudatory. “Peering” is a word that sticks out to me the most in the poem – it sounds like science spies and “alterest all things” by trying to find a secret meaning in everything. Whitman

    1. The effect of this syntax is almost like a continuous narrative. I think the poem is meant to tell a story in chronological order, which is the purpose of the syntax and its delivery. Whitman is telling a story. 2. The presentation of scientific data affects the speaker nonchalantly. The speaker, to me, seems unconcerned with “charts and diagrams” and does not care to sit seeing the “astronomer where he lectured with much applause” because of his reaction of sickness and fatigue. 3. The sitting, rising, and gliding participles create a chronological effect that gives somewhat of a euphoric kind of imagery. First he sits down, then suddenly he is rising and gliding out, wondering off by hisself. He then is consumed with peace as he sits among the stars.

    4. He implies that the relationship between science and nature is that science is sequential and data-based, while nature is silent, without any kind of explanation or logic, yet is the most beautiful. 5. I feel like Poe and Whitman both have similar opinions, although Poe is a little more negative in his terminology towards science. Whitman seems to have no pre-conceived notions about science, but rather enjoys the beauty of nature rather than lectures and facts and charts. 6. I don’t think Whitman would regard Huxley or Eiseley’s opinions as relevant to his, but if I had to pick, I think Eiseley would be more of his “kindred spirit” because of their similar views on the actual impact of science on the world as a whole rather than their own personal lives, dissimilarly to Poe and Huxley.

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