Respond to the following question in a well-developed essay of at 750 words. Be as specific as possible, backing up your assertions with quotes and specific details from the sources below.
Do not use any sources other than the sources below. The point is to tell what you think about the topic, not what everyone on the Internet has to say about it.
However, you should stay in 3rd Person. Your essay should be a critical literary response, not a personal response.
The question is:
No writer exists in a vacuum; all are influenced by those who have gone before them. One of the most influential American writers is Walt Whitman. Discuss how you see his influence on at least two or three writers who came after him, paying careful attention not only to literary style but also to prominent themes.
Use only these sources (No Outside Sources):
1. The “Walt Whitman Poems” located in the materials file: “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer,” “The Wound Dresser,” and “Reconciliation” Also, “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking” in this website: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/out-cradle-endlessly-rocking
2. Walt Whitman, Song of Myself, Sections 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 15, 21, 24, 32, 52 in this website: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45477/song-of-myself-1892-version
When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer
When I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
The Wound Dresser
An old man bending, I come, among new faces,
Years looking backward, resuming, in answer to children,
Come tell us, old man, as from young men and maidens that love me;
Years hence of these scenes, of these furious passions, these chances,
Of unsurpass’d heroes, (was one side so brave? the other was equally brave;)
Now be witness again—paint the mightiest armies of earth;
Of those armies so rapid, so wondrous, what saw you to tell us?
What stays with you latest and deepest? of curious panics,
Of hard-fought engagements, or sieges tremendous, what deepest remains?
O maidens and young men I love, and that love me,
What you ask of my days, those the strangest and sudden your talking recalls;
Soldier alert I arrive, after a long march, cover’d with sweat and dust;
In the nick of time I come, plunge in the fight, loudly shout in the rush of successful
Enter the captur’d works…. yet lo! like a swift-running river, they fade;
Pass and are gone, they fade—I dwell not on soldiers’ perils or soldiers’ joys;
(Both I remember well—many the hardships, few the joys, yet I was content.)
But in silence, in dreams’ projections,
While the world of gain and appearance and mirth goes on,
So soon what is over forgotten, and waves wash the imprints off the sand,
In nature’s reverie sad, with hinged knees returning, I enter the doors—(while for you
Whoever you are, follow me without noise, and be of strong heart.)
Bearing the bandages, water and sponge,
Straight and swift to my wounded I go,
Where they lie on the ground, after the battle brought in;
Where their priceless blood reddens the grass, the ground;
Or to the rows of the hospital tent, or under the roof’d hospital;
To the long rows of cots, up and down, each side, I return;
To each and all, one after another, I draw near—not one do I miss;
An attendant follows, holding a tray—he carries a refuse pail,
Soon to be fill’d with clotted rags and blood, emptied and fill’d again.
I onward go, I stop,
With hinged knees and steady hand, to dress wounds;
I am firm with each—the pangs are sharp, yet unavoidable;
One turns to me his appealing eyes—(poor boy! I never knew you,
Yet I think I could not refuse this moment to die for you, if that would save you.)
On, on I go!—(open doors of time! open hospital doors!)
The crush’d head I dress, (poor crazed hand, tear not the bandage away;)
The neck of the cavalry-man, with the bullet through and through, I examine;
Hard the breathing rattles, quite glazed already the eye, yet life struggles hard;
(Come, sweet death! be persuaded, O beautiful death!
In mercy come quickly.)
From the stump of the arm, the amputated hand,
I undo the clotted lint, remove the slough, wash off the matter and blood;
Back on his pillow the soldier bends, with curv’d neck, and side-falling head;
His eyes are closed, his face is pale, (he dares not look on the bloody stump,
And has not yet look’d on it.)
I dress a wound in the side, deep, deep;
But a day or two more—for see, the frame all wasted already, and sinking,
And the yellow-blue countenance see.
I dress the perforated shoulder, the foot with the bullet wound,
Cleanse the one with a gnawing and putrid gangrene, so sickening, so offensive,
While the attendant stands behind aside me, holding the tray and pail.
I am faithful, I do not give out;
The fractur’d thigh, the knee, the wound in the abdomen,
These and more I dress with impassive hand—(yet deep in my breast a fire, a burning
Thus in silence, in dreams’ projections,
Returning, resuming, I thread my way through the hospitals;
The hurt and wounded I pacify with soothing hand,
I sit by the restless all the dark night—some are so young;
Some suffer so much—I recall the experience sweet and sad;
(Many a soldier’s loving arms about this neck have cross’d and rested,
Many a soldier’s kiss dwells on these bearded lips.)
Word over all, beautiful as the sky!
Beautiful that war, and all its deeds of carnage, must in time be utterly lost;
That the hands of the sisters Death and Night, incessantly softly wash again, and ever
again, this soil’d world:
… For my enemy is dead—a man divine as myself is dead;
I look where he lies, white-faced and still, in the coffin—I draw near;
I bend down, and touch lightly with my lips the white face in the coffin.