Professor Gary Schmidgall
24 March 2014
A ductile rewriting by W. Whitman “A Noiseless Patient Spider”
In his poem “A Noiseless Patient Spider” Whitman uses the simple imagery of a spider to portray a deeper human emotion. With the entire poem making use of a spider as a metaphor for a human, the reader can get a good understanding of the loneliness and the determination that one might feel to ceaselessly cast out their soul until it catches on to the soul of another. Sometimes it takes a lot of hard work and determination in order for another person to understand you or “till the bridge you will need, be form'd – till the ductile anchor hold.” Therefore, especially for writer, it is important that the readers will follow his ideas and comprehend the meanings. In my opinion, the last published version of this poem is more clear for readers and Whitman wisely made all the alterations and deletions to simply and explicitly convey his thoughts.
The last version of the poem contains two five-line stanzas, and the prior has only two three-line stanzas. From mixed symbols in the prior version, Whitman uses one stanza for the first character , the spider, and the second for the soul. We could see that the author added a lot. For example, even though the free verse structure has no metrical pattern, it contain patterns of another kind, such as repetition to impart emphasis, balance, and rhythm. Whitman's poem uses mark'd twice (lines 2 and 3), filament three times (line 4), O my soul twice (lines 6 and 10), and till three times (lines 9 and 10). Whitman also intensifies his poem with figurative language; such as alliteration in line 3 – “vacant vast”, line 4 “forth filament, filament, filament”, lines 6 and 7 “stand, surrounded, detached”. Adding information about this unattached spider surrounded by “measureless oceans of space” emphasizes loneliness in a way that makes it easier for the reader to understand, than at the prior version...