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Symbols in “When Lilacs in the Dooryard Bloom’d” Poem by Whitman

The poem “When Lilacs in the Dooryard Bloom’d” is one of the masterpieces of Walt Whitman containing deep symbolism. It is used to convey feelings and emotions and help readers to understand the central message of the author. The star, the lilac, and the bird are the three words that are recurrent throughout the poem. They are interconnected and can be understood when reading the whole poem. The first symbol, the lilac, is introduced in the first line, “When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d.” (Whitman 1). It is associated with spring and the cycle of life. At the same time, Whitman links it to Abraham Lincoln, who was killed in spring.

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The next symbol, the star, is associated with the idea of darkness. Lincoln is compared to this shining object illuminating the world. With his death, the time of darkness has come “And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night” (Whitman 2). At the same time, this idea is used to emphasize Lincoln’s role, who was a guiding star for the people of America, and whose death indicated the approaching of the night for the whole nation.

Finally, the symbol of the bird is introduced by mentioning the hermit, singing “Song of the bleeding throat” (Whitman 23). Its symbolic meaning comes from the poet’s attempt to represent his voice and an attempt to praise a great leader. He has blood in the throat because of the pain of loss; however, the soul sings to honor a great man. In such a way, using these three symbols, Whitman manages to convey hidden meanings and make readers think about the ideas presented by the poem.

Work Cited

Whitman, Walt. “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.” Poetry Foundation, Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, November 17). Symbols in “When Lilacs in the Dooryard Bloom’d” Poem by Whitman. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/symbols-in-when-lilacs-in-the-dooryard-bloomd-poem-by-whitman/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, November 17). Symbols in “When Lilacs in the Dooryard Bloom’d” Poem by Whitman. https://studycorgi.com/symbols-in-when-lilacs-in-the-dooryard-bloomd-poem-by-whitman/

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"Symbols in “When Lilacs in the Dooryard Bloom’d” Poem by Whitman." StudyCorgi, 17 Nov. 2022, studycorgi.com/symbols-in-when-lilacs-in-the-dooryard-bloomd-poem-by-whitman/.

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StudyCorgi. "Symbols in “When Lilacs in the Dooryard Bloom’d” Poem by Whitman." November 17, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/symbols-in-when-lilacs-in-the-dooryard-bloomd-poem-by-whitman/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Symbols in “When Lilacs in the Dooryard Bloom’d” Poem by Whitman." November 17, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/symbols-in-when-lilacs-in-the-dooryard-bloomd-poem-by-whitman/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Symbols in “When Lilacs in the Dooryard Bloom’d” Poem by Whitman'. 17 November.

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