A Noiseless Patient Spider Poem Review

A Noiseless Patient Spider

'A Noiseless Patient Spider' was published in 1868, three years after the end of the American Civil War. The war had left many American citizens suffering, and many people lost their lives. Whitman's poem focuses on the perseverance of one of those citizens, the spider.

Whitman's personification of the spider

Whitman's personification of the spider illustrates a complex figurative theme. The spider is an emblem of the lost soul that grasps after the world around it. It represents human isolation from the world, and relates to the transcendentalists in its theme of a lost soul.

The spider, like the speaker's soul, is in constant struggle to form connections with others. In the beginning, this characterization may seem hopeless; however, the poem's ending offers a more optimistic perspective: the spider will be able to form some connections with humans and the world.

The theme of perseverance

The theme of perseverance is an underlying thread of the poem. It compares a spider to a human who reaches new plateaus through questioning and theory. In one passage, a spider spins a silken thread and reaches the void; in another, a human reaches the void by building a bridge and an airplane.

The speaker wonders about the meaning of life in the vast world. At the beginning of the poem, he notices a spider on a ledge. This assonance links the speaker with the spider, creating a feeling of connection. In addition, he uses the word "noiseless" (a negative form of "silent") to create the feeling of absence. The spider is able to make sense of the situation and build a solution despite the vast surroundings.

The connection between the spider's plight and the speaker's soul

This poem explores the connection between the speaker's soul and the plight of a silent spider. Both creatures need to make connections to survive. Whitman explains the parallel between the spider's plight and the speaker's by comparing the spider's plight to that of a soul, which searches for spiritual anchors no matter the circumstances.

The speaker demonstrates the connection between the spider's plight, metaphorically and literally, and his own soul. Both are trying to build their webs of friends, family, and anything that they hold dear or that gives them meaning.

The alliteration of "F"

The alliteration of "F" in the title of this poem is effective. The first letter is pronounced "fee" and is an anagram for the word "mark." The alliteration creates an image of a spider shooting its web into the air, and the repetition of "E" suggests the spider's continual efforts to break free of its isolation.

The poem also emphasizes the relationship between the individual self and the wider world. The speaker describes an isolated spider in space actively sending out filaments. These filaments become an extended metaphor for the speaker's soul, suggesting that the speaker's soul is always searching for connections.

The meditative tone of the poem

The tone of this poem is meditative at first, but it becomes earnest and urgent in the final stanza. In the first half, the poet uses a meditative tone to describe the spider, marking its movements minutely. The second half of the poem turns inward, connecting the image of the spider with the poet's own soul.

The poem begins with an image of a spider, which the speaker sees alone on a small ledge. The long /i/ sounds in the first line of the poem link the speaker to the spider. In addition, the negative form of the word "silent" -- "noiseless" -- creates the feeling of absence, a sensation reflected in the spider's isolation.

The repetition of "E"

The poem begins with an image of a spider, alone on a ledge. This image links the speaker to the spider, and the "noiseless" is a negative form of silent, creating a sense of absence. This absence mirrors the spider's loneliness.

In this poem, the repetition of "E" is significant to the spider's ongoing struggle to leave the isolation it is facing. It implies that the spider will continue to search for new connections to anchor itself, much as it works to create new connections.

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