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Walt Whitman is a very well-known poet of English literature. One of his famous poems, "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" is known as an amazing contribution in the area of English literature. The poem "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" was penned down by the poet in 1859 and was first published in a Saturday press newspaper on December 24, 1859. The poem originally did not have this name, in fact, it was titled "A Child's Remembrance". The poem received great reviews an acclamation from the readers and the critics alike. This why the poem was later included in an edition of "Leaves of Grass" in 1860. The poem once again received a great response and the critics comments on it as an "unmixed and hopeless drive". The poem was, later on, adapted loosely for many stage plays and dramas.
Whitman's poem "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" is full of many poetic elements and metaphors. It is an excellent example of a great poetic piece of writing with a perfect blend of emotions and realities, that surround various phases of a human life. The author has made use of various elements at appropriate places to highlight the tragedy of various events and moments in life.
The poem "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" is a story of a young boy who is walking by a seashore and notices two mockingbirds resting in their nest. The female bird failed to return one day and the male bird becomes very restless and impatient without her. He tries to search for his mate everywhere but fails to find her and accepts defeat. The constant cries of the male bird create an awakening in the poet or the young boy who ponders upon his own life and tries to interpret what exactly the male bird is saying. He then comes to know about the effect of nature upon the human brain and soul, and its contribution to the development of his own burgeoning consciousness.
The piece of writing is all about reminiscence, in which the point looks all the way back at his childhood and remembers the time when he first became aware of his abilities to become a good poet. The poet uses the elements of his own mental consciousness and nature to elaborate the various ups and downs of his life (Gale). Some critics also perceived the main crux of the poem to be an elegy mourning of the death of some person who was very dear to the poet.
The poem also carries a number of messages linked to various concepts like life, death, love, depression, longing, and desperation.
Imagery or Metaphors
There are various sorts of imagery that has been used by the poet in this poem. The poem has been written in a free verse form of writing. Subtle yet pervasive, the piece of writing touches the heart by the use of various images and symbols. These images include a young boy, a bird, sea, cold and refreshing breeze, etc.
One of the most prominent images or symbol that has been extensively used in the whole poem is the "cradle" or a rocking cradle. The importance of this image or symbol can be understood through this that it has also been used in the title of the poem. Along with this, the image has been used in the very first line of the poem as in the final lines of the poem. This image links all the parts and lyrics of the poem and refers to the temporariness of life. The movement or rocking of the cradle refers to the constant changes and ups and downs in life. The rocking cradle has also been taken in the context of a mother's womb in some cases. The poet is referring to leaving a comfortable place, in the form of his mother’s womb and coming into a horrible place like this world.
The other prominent image that has been used in the poem is that of a singing bird. The very first stanza of the poem says "the bird that chanted", which is carried on throughout the whole poem (Whitman). The song of the bird culminates in the final lyrics of the poem, in which, according to the poem, the songs of the bird have transformed into a mature and adult one. The singing bird can be taken as the poet himself as he explains the ups and downs of life and the tragedies through which a human goes in the course of their life.
In a nutshell, it can be said without a doubt that the poem "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" written by Walt Whitman is an excellent work of writing, taking on a roller coaster ride of life. The poet has used the example of a young boy walking on a beach and enjoying the nature until he listens to the cries of a male mockingbird, who has lost his female counterpart and is mourning about her. Walt Whitman has taken its leaders on an awakening journey throughout life and emphasized on the importance of nature in the nurturing of the human soul. The poet has made brilliant and extensive use of images and metaphors, all over the poem, to clarify his point of view. The poem is a must read for everyone who wants to grow and get a mental consciousness.
Whitman, Walt, Richard Bigus, and James Byron Hall. Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking. Labyrinth Editions, 1978.
Gale, C. L. (2016). A Study Guide for Walt Whitman's" Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking". Gale, Cengage Learning.
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