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In the poem “A Noiseless Patient Spider” by Walt Whitman he speaks of a spider that faces problems and has no one to help it through them. Walt Whitman uses elements such as imagery and symbolism. He uses imagery to allow the reader to understand the surroundings, feelings, actions of both the speaker and spider. Symbolism is used to describe the actions of the spider while connecting them to human situations and how they are dealt with. Walt Whitman wants to convey to the reader that the problems that one face will be defeated with effort and perseverance.
In the first stanza Walt Whitman uses imagery to show the setting of the poem. He uses “noiseless” in the beginning to describe the spider and how it does not react to the situation like most people do when something suddenly comes up. In the second and third line of the first stanza Whitman uses “stood isolated/…vacant vast surrounding” to show that the spider is analyzing the problem before doing anything that it may regret. He also uses imagery to show how the spider then starts to build a solution for this. This relates to human nature because when people are faced with a problem most of the time people tackle it, just like how in the fourth line Whitman claimed the spider did “filament, filament, filament” taking its time.
Walt Whitman uses symbolism to compare the struggles of the spider to human life and how it is dealt with. The first stanza starts off with “A noiseless patient spider” Whitman seems to describe a person that could have been faced with a problem and is analyzing it. In the last two lines Whitman talks about how “It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,” this symbolizes the effort of the spider and how it is taking it slow and being cautious. Most humans in intense situations will take their time and be aware of what they are doing in order to overcome the problem.
Whitman uses imagery once again in the second stanza to paint a picture of having the problem consume the spider like it does in life if it is given to much negative attention. In the second line of the stanza he states that the spider is “ measureless oceans of space” meaning there is no way that the problem could be tackled yet because there is no solution yet. Whitman then ends by saying “Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere,” meaning the end of the problem. Once the situation is back to normal and humans have their solution to the problems.
Symbolism is in this stanza too when Walt Whitman uses “Surrounded, detached” in the second line to show that the spider is so consumed in this bump in the road that now it is all it could think about. Sometimes people can be so focused on something that it just takes away time and energy that could be used for something that makes them more happy. In the fourth line Walt uses “till the ductile anchor hold,” and it means that the spider would have to wait until it has the perfect plan to execute anything. Just like anybody would have to wait for the perfect moment in which they would be able to make things right again.
The imagery and symbolism in this poem relate to real human life because when effort and perseverance are put to use the problem is not as big. The imagery showed how the problem affected the spider and its socialness. The symbolism of the poem relates to the reality of life and its complications and “A Noiseless Patient Spider” by Walt Whitman is a great representation of life and its randomness.
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