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Analysis and comments on Beat! Beat! Drums! by Walt Whitman

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Comment 10 of 90, added on February 23rd, 2006 at 1:16 PM.

I think the strange nature of great work can be an openness to
interpretation. Surely this poem has a war theme, but that doesn't make the
interpretation that the poem is urging people to wake up to life invalid.
Whitman contains multitudes, he is his world, and while he can be the war,
the war can also be his poetry, a ringing, messianic declamation. He sees
the war, but is bigger than it. He can simultaneously rage against the war,
without throwing in some political dig that would less the poem's ability
to transcend the war, and beat the drum himself for the bigger war of the
spirit.

Dan from United States
Comment 9 of 90, added on January 21st, 2006 at 12:52 PM.

This a great poem. I would like to use it in my American Lit class but I
need to find 5 literary devices. Can anyone help?

Katie from United States
Comment 8 of 90, added on January 17th, 2006 at 12:21 PM.

In the first verse I think that it (the war) is to draw alls attention. In
the second, I find that the war is tell you to stop what you are doing and
to watch it. And the third could be about not allowing anyone to interrupt
this great war that we had against ourselves.

Veronica from United States
Comment 7 of 90, added on December 19th, 2005 at 11:35 PM.

In this poem by walt whitman he is not encouraging a war for freedom or
telling people to branch out and live a fuller life but he is rather
tearing down the so called glory of war and showing it for what it really
is- a home wreaking, life destroying, soul reaping mistake that serves no
purpose but to cause pain and misery leaving in its wake empty places where
young men once were. Whitman was a strong anti war poet who felt that war
did nothing but destroy the earth and his use of the drums and bugles to
sybolize the essence of war that leaves "no happiness" and is a
"wild","shrill", "fierce", and "terrible" entity. This is a beautiful poem
which decrys a torn nation and speaks a message of peace and the emptiness
of war that holds true not only to its own era but also to future
generations.

erica from United States
Comment 6 of 90, added on November 30th, 2005 at 7:24 PM.

interesting, i intepreted this poem quite differently. i thought the
beating of the drums was a message being sent to the monotonous commoners
to tell them that they need to get away from their everyday life and live a
little. A lot of things were going on in the 1800's but still, don't let
that stop one from being free and just LIVING! but then again, i am
horrible at interpreting any written form of material.

cody hadley from United States
Comment 5 of 90, added on September 3rd, 2005 at 12:51 PM.

I found this poem as a very interesting one. Though it's full of emotions
wherein he had talked about the beating of the drums, the sound of it makes
your heart pound. every beat of the drum underlies every word of rythym and
intensifies the situation while the soldiers were marching as the go along
the churches and schools

Hazel from United States
Comment 4 of 90, added on July 20th, 2005 at 12:53 PM.

This poem surely does evoke powerful emotions. The beating of the drums
underlies every word, every thought, every rhythm, growing with intensity
with each passing stanza. I could hear the snap of the snare as I pictured
with Whitman the columns of soldiers growing in numbers as it passed
through towns, past churches and schools, past merchants and mothers and
children (whose husbands and fathers were surely compelled by patriotism
and loyalty and the oncoming war to join the growing throng). And just as
the drums echoed through EVERYTHING, reverberating even in the ears of the
dead (who await the onslaught of newcomers, those who will inevitably fall
victim to the ravages of war), the Civil War would filter through every
aspect of life in the growing United States. Such growing pains were
inevitable, for to stand for justice, the nation must fight those who would
detract from freedom for all. I think Whitman, the Great Patriot, felt the
war was necessary for the furthering of the ideals of democracy.

Contrast the images in this poem with Whitman’s images in “Lilacs,” one of
the poet’s grieving statements about Lincoln’s death, paradoxically
combined with the renewal and growing opportunities in America. Instead of
drums beating of death and marching on about the inevitability of war, the
mourning song of the bird, the perfume of the lilacs, the mothers and
children coming out of their homes witness of life and renewal and growth
and freedom. For even though Lincoln, the Captain of captains, was dead,
the Civil War was over (or at least drawing to a close) and the smoke began
to clear and the sun shined again. America was enveloped in Spring.

T. Chadwick from United States
Comment 3 of 90, added on January 23rd, 2005 at 5:53 PM.

i strongly disagree that this poem was so great! it sucks to me.
Absolutely no meaning to me.

Terika from United States
Comment 2 of 90, added on January 20th, 2005 at 8:49 AM.

This poem kicks but it is so powerful and shows the meaning of war what it
really is

brad from United States
Comment 1 of 90, added on November 30th, 2004 at 10:51 PM.

Some have mistakenly assumed that Whitman wrote no irony, but I see both
his poems "The Learned Astronomer" and "Beat!Beat!Drums" as dripping with
irony. The first, the arrogance of mortal man before the infinite
Creation, the latter, the picture of a trainload of dead soldiers forced to
stand over the river unable to enter town and the hearses because of the
celebrating crowd and war fever on Recruiting Day!

H H Hughes from United States

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Information about Beat! Beat! Drums!

Poet: Walt Whitman
Poem: 3. Beat! Beat! Drums!
Volume: Leaves of Grass
- 8. Drum-Taps
Year: 1900
Added: Feb 7 2004
Viewed: 26978 times
Poem of the Day: Jan 1 2005


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