A Noiseless Patient Spider
In Whitman’s “A Noiseless Patient Spider,” the speaker uses imagery to describe how he is studying a spider explore and work hard to fill an empty space by “Launch’d forth filament out of itself, ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them” (lines 4-5) in the first stanza. In the second stanza Whitman compares how a human can also be in an empty space like the spider like the spider trying to explore and connect to something either spiritually or personally. Another outlook using a Historical perspective you can see how Whitman compares the spider to the American people during his time and the separation between two different sides.
In the first stanza the speaker is observing the spider almost scrutinizing the spider. Whitman uses very descriptive words like “isolated” (line 2) and “vacant vast” (Line 3) to show how tiny and small the spider is on the promontory compared to the massive universe making it so small that it is noiseless. Even though the spider is surrounded by immense empty space it still is a “patient spider” (line 1) exploring and filling the empty promontory with its web. Even though there is only space around the spider it still tirelessly tries to make a connection to something by shooting out that web.
When Whitman says the spider “launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself” (line 4) it shows the spider is patient because you get the image of the spider repeatedly shooting out filament trying to fill the vast space of the promontory. The lesson to learn from this spider is to keep patiently moving forward and explore your life no matter how vast or insurmountable the task maybe. In the second stanza the speaker makes a connection with the spider and relates the spider to himself “and you O my soul where you stand, Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space” (lines 6-7).
The speaker feels like the spider in the fact that his soul is detached from the world around him and he is searching for something to connect to. When Whitman writes “seeking the spheres to connect them” (line 8) he uses the word spheres which could symbolize either people or a higher power like god, which means the speaker is trying to make a religious connection or a social one with other people. If the speaker is trying to connect to other people the filament or web would symbolize modern day cell phones or the internet hich we use every day to make connections with our friends or family so we don’t feel isolated, but during the time this poem was written it could symbolize bridges and ships that were built to connect separated countries. After looking at it with a biological and historical prospective different idea came to mind.
Learning how Whitman lived through the civil war, the soul in the poem that is “Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them” could symbolize the division and disagreement of the American people during the civil war. Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul. ” describes how Whitman was waiting for the day that America to come together as a nation of one instead of a nation divided. Going back to how the spider used single filaments to create a web that was one. I chose this poem because I liked the idea of putting single pieces together to create something in harmony that was complete.
WORKS CITED DiYanni, Robert. Literature . Sixth Edition. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2007. Print. “Walt Whitman . ” Encyclopedia of World Biography. N. p. , Tuesday, September 21, 2010. Web. 21 Sep 2010. .