Week: 14 Journal
Topic: Beat! Beat! Drums! By: Walt Whitman

I read this poem fairly quickly the first time through and sort of passed by it. Later when I reread it I stopped to consider what exactly Walt Whitman’s message was and I came to the conclusion that he’s speaking to the people who have stayed uninvolved or mostly unaffected by the war (Civil War). He’s trying to enlist them into joining in the battle and explaining that the battle really is a worthy cause.

I found the use of repletion from the beating drums and bugle horn very interesting and clever in their usage. Throughout history most battles were started with some sort of instrumental call, in America that call had typically been the call of drums and bugles. Because he used drums and bugles as his ‘call’ it is leads the reader straight into thoughts about war. In his poem Whitman has the drums and bugle interrupt every aspect of life with their call; they interrupt church, scholars, weddings, farmers and even death. This following quote is an example of how Whitman used the symbol of drum and bugle to demonstrate a disturbance to every day life, because in his belief war should be a disturbance to normal every day life:

“Beat! beat! drums! – blow! bugles! blow!
Through the windows- through the doors- burst like a ruthless force,
Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation”
(NAAL p. 1067)

The words as well as the punctuation used in this quote emphasize Whitman’s point of disruption. He uses exclamation points to express high volume and stress themusic26n.jpg beating of the drums and blowing of the bugle. Whitman also chose the word ‘ruthless’ which stuck out to me from the beginning… a fairly common word but still one that conjures a very specific sentiment.

At the end of the poem Whitman warns the recruits not to be swayed from their mission. That no matter the diversion the war and the lives that have been lost or may be lost in battle are far more important than anything going on in their every day lives. He warns them against the timid, the weeping, the praying, the old man calling out to them, their mother’s and a few others. The quote below shows an example of Whitman’s warning to the followers:

“Mind not the timid- mind not the weeper or prayer,
Mind no the old man beseeching the young man,
Let not the child’s voice be heard, nor the mother’s entreaties”
(NAAL p. 1068)

Week 13 Journal Entry:

Topic: The Gettysburg Address



I remember in 6th grade I was required to memorized a good chunk of this speech (along with all the presidents in order: Washington, Adams, Jackson… and so on) and for whatever reason it’s stuck with me. At the time I didn’t have a full appreciation for what the Civil War was and what it meant to the United States, but aslincoln_bw2.jpg I got older I continued to develop a strong interest in the Civil War. I find American history extremely fascinating from colonial times through the Civil War, even though I do have to admit as soon as the Civil War ends I start to lose interest during the reconstruction phase that follows.
One of my favorite lines in the speech is:
“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what we did here.” (NAAL p. 734)
I love this line just for the sheer fact at how wrong Lincoln was. I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way; I just find it so interesting that he thought his words were so

Battle Map Of Gettysburg

inconsequential when to me (and some others I’m sure) he’s Abraham Lincoln, how can anything he said be unimportant? Also I love the flow of the speech, I’m not positive if it at this point in history Presidents still wrote their own speeches or not, but I find this to be very eloquent, strong, yet compassionate. I feel the compassion from Lincoln at what these men achieved and died for in this line:=====
“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate – we can not consecrate – we can not hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.” (NAAL p. 734)


Journal Number 4:
Week 12

Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, The Raven is an interesting tale. I’ve known this poem for years and I still love it every time I hear it. I believe that part of that is because of the rhyming scheme and the flow of the poem, but besides that the story and the man’s acceptance of the raven always makes me think. I remember I first heard this poem in 6th grade and I feel like it's sort of grown up with me. I know that sounds weird but the first time I heard it I remember liking it, but not understanding it and as I evolved my views on the poem have.

I did some research on the significance of ravens in history and I discovered that by man different cultures ravens have been considered spiritual, messengers, healers and a bad omen. For example Native Americans believed that the raven was a messenger that could deliver messages their gods. They also believed that rraven.gifavens are the keeper of secrets and can help us determine answers to some of our thoughts and problems. In the case of Europeans they viewed the raven as a symbol of war, death and the spirit world. Druids like Native Americans also believed that the raven was a messenger between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Most of the dark images of a raven are easy for us to connect with so I found it interesting that there are also just as many good and positive images of the raven as well. By some cultures the raven is believed to be the bringer of light, truth and goodness.

From the reading of the poem it’s obvious the direction the man views the raven. He sees the raven as a torment and maybe even the devil. In a way the raven taunts the man with his one word answers and the fact that he is perched high above him may also give the impression that he’s looking down on the man, maybe in judgment. The following line demonstrates how the man views the raven:

“’Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil!’”
(NAAL p. 677)

In the poem by Poe the raven is said to have ‘croaked’ the word “nevermore”. As the poem progresses the man begins to ask the raven questions aboutraven.jpg Lenore knowing full well that each and every time the raven is only going to respond with ‘nevermore’. It makes me wonder if the man is torturing himself about his lost Lenore or if he’s hoping beyond all hope that this bird (omen) will respond differently if he just asks the right question. Eventually though he gives up realizing that the answers he wants are never going to come.

“Leave my loneliness unbroken – quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
(NAAL p. 678)

Journal Entry #3:

Topic: Brahma by: Ralph Waldo Emerson

I found this poem really neat mostly because at first I really didn’t understand it and it made me want to. So not knowing who or what Brahma was I did a little research and discovered that he a god within the Hindu religion. Brahma is part of a trinity of Gods and his role within this trinity is the creator and is responsible for the cycle of day and night. Brahma as four heads (at one time he had five) which were a result of his love for Gayatri who didn’t like Brahma’s overtures. He later lost one his five heads when he angered another god, Shiva who is also part of the trinity and known as the destroyer.

Now that we have some background on whom Brahma is it’s easier to understand why Emerson chose to speak through him in this poem. Since Brahma is the creator he encompasses nature and gives an alignment to spirituality and the natural world. In the first stanza I believe Emerson – speaking from the perspective of Brahma is talking about how he’s always shifting and changing and that even people who think they know what life and what death are really don’t and can’t, because they can’t comprehend the changes. He also speaks to the fact that life is a cycle because the slayer ‘slays’ but eventually he will be slain.

“They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again.”
(NAAL p. 569)

I believe in the third stanza he is speaking more towards his importance. This may be taking this stanza at face value but to me it’s Brahma speaking about his 282020.jpgimportance and how though others may fly he’s the wings which makes flight possible. He also talks about how he’s the “hymn the Brahmin sings.” (NAAL p. 569) Which seems a little arrogant, and I wonder if he’s trying to make these point to a mortal or to another god.

The end of the poem tells the reader to find Brahma and turn their back on heaven. I’m trying to decide if this because Brahma believes he’s greater than heaven in another show of arrogance (which may be in his character) or if he’s making a point that once you find him and his peace within yourself you no longer need to worry about finding heaven.

Journal Entry #2:

Reading: My Lost Youth by: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The best way to start this off is by listening to the poem, I feel like alot of meaning and effect are displayed in this reading... the visual elements give a nice touch to help those of us with less vivid imaginations get a really good feel for the time period and the images Longfellow is looking to provoke.

I chose this poem because I feel like it takes you on a tour of who this man was and what he became… and some of the events in between. This poem starts out giving very vivid and beautiful detail of the man’s natural surroundings growing up; which is very typical for a Romantic period writer. Starting with the very first verse Longfellow introduces a song verse to us which is said to have ‘haunted’ the man as he’s carried on his life, and in the way he chooses to use the verse Ii also very haunting throughout the poem.

“A boy’s will is the wind’s will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.”
(NAAL p. 650)

The last line in the previous quote almost seems like his youth is full of regret: regret for what though? Maybe for growing up too quickly, for not enjoying his youth…?

It’s evident by the middle of the poem that the man recalling these events was impacted by the battle between the American Enterprise and the British Boxer… maybe ent1811.jpgthis was his first real view of the War of 1812? Because I didn’t know much about this battle between the ships I decided to do a little extra digging. This battle took place on September 5, 1813 off the coast of Portland, Maine. Apparently both Captains perished during this battle and when the British ship surrendered the Captain of the American vessel said, “I am satisfied, I die contented.” http://www.mywarof1812.com/battles/130905.htm)

“I remember the sea-fight far away,
How it thundered o’er the tide!
And the dead captains, as they lay
Where they in battle died” (NAAL p.651)

A couple stanzas below Longfellow continues by saying there are many things that still haunt him and dreams that won’t die, “…thoughts that make a strong heart weak…” I feel like this really speaks to a man who believes this time in his life went by too quickly. Like his life has past him by almost and that he has seen too much, and knows too much to ever go back to being a boy with boundless hopes and dreams. Which in some ways is a positive but in others is a negative thought.

Also I wanted to mention it just cause I think it's really neat... In this line:
"The shadows of Deering's Woods;"
Is a refenerce to modern day Deering Oaks Park in Portland, Maine. I've included a photo of Deering Wood that I thought you all might be interested to see. I don't know if all of you know the area, but I do fairly well. My sister lives right off of the park and we go there for picnics and concerts in the park whenever I visit her!

DeeringBridge1840.jpg Deering's Woods Then

portland-press-herald_3063947.jpg Deering Oaks Park Today

“Will the American Government steal? Will it lie? Will it kill?”
(Emerson p. 588)

What a powerful line to say to the President of the United States… I have many thoughts on this letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson to President Van Buren. I feel like Emerson was very respectful in this letter establishing in the very beginning a tone of honor for the position of the Presidency. You can also tell from the tone of this letter that Emerson has invested himself in the plight of the Cherokee Nation. He’s doing both of those things all the while putting the President in a position of action, almost by using his office and his citizens against him. “The soul of man, the justice the mercy, that is the hearts heart in all men from Maine to Georgia, does abhor this business.” (Emerson p. 587)

As the letter continues Emerson seems to take a more bold approach with the President gaining courage and momentum as he wrote and becoming accusatory of the President. This is a very interesting contrast to the beginning of the letter, in which Emerson was so thoughtful and respectful. I think the best way to describe it would almost be by comparing it to a spider’s web… Emerson attracted the President through flattery and respect then started attacking the government due to their treatment of the Cherokees and the fact that they intend to uphold a false treaty. “You, Sir, will bring down that renowned chair in which you sit into infamy, if your seal is set to this instrument of perfidy, and the name of this nation, hitherto the sweet omen of religion and liberty, will stink to the world.” (Emerson p. 587)

President Van Buren’s administration was extremely hard on Native Americans. President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act in 1837, which is where the plan developed to move the Native Americans west of the Mississippi River. Cherokee Indians were removed by force from their lands in 1838, this moment is also known as the Trail of Tears. During the Trail of Tears early 4,000 Cherokee Indians died out of the 12,000 that were being relocated at that time. (President Van Buren - Indian Relations) In total Van Buren completed the transfer of about 20,000 Native Americans. Even though the removals were completed under the actions and policies of President Andrew Jackson, it was President Van Buren who saw those plans through. Trail of Tears – The preceding video speaks about Andrew Jackson as well as the Trail of Tears, when looking for information on the Trail of Tears it does seem that President Jackson is assigned most of the blame for the events.

I also find it interesting that in introduction area where it talks about Ralph Waldo Emerson it does point at that Emerson did not join the abolitionist cause until some point in the 1850’s. I think it’s really interesting almost the double standard that’s evident at the time he wrote this letter to President Van Buren. Emerson speaks to the the humanity of the Native Americans, “Even in our distant state, some good rumor of their worth and civility has arrive. We have learned with joy their improvement in social arts. We have read their newspapers. We have seen some of them in our schools and colleges period. In common with the great body of the American people we have witnessed with sympathy the painful labors of these red men to redeem their own race from the doom of eternal inferiority, and to borrow and domesticate in the tribe, the arts and customs of the caucasian race.” (Emerson p. 586) I know that Emerson came around to the cause of the African Americans by I can’t believe that from the date this letter was written it took him at least twelve years to realize the similarities in their plight. On the other hand, maybe because slavery wasn’t the issue forefront on everyone’s mind at the time it wasn’t given much thought? Speeches by Emerson on Slavery

Essay Prompt:
Is it possible to separate the American Revolution (a new way of thinking about government, where power lay in the hands of the people) from the American Revolutionary War (American’s fight for independence)? Why or why not? How do the views of various writers from this historical period help to separate the idea of the war from the overall Revolution?

Selected Works:

The Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson
The Norton Anthology – American Literature
Pages: 342-346

Common Sense by Thomas Paine
The Norton Anthology – American Literature
Pages 326 – 332

Articles of Confederation

The American Revolution was more than just a battle fought between the colonies and Great Britain; the American Revolution became a way of life the colonists; molding and shaping their points of views and the way they chose to govern after the war. Support for this belief can be found in various sources of information including the Articles of Confederation, The Declaration of Independence as well as Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. In both Common Sense and The Declaration of Independence we are able to see the reasons why the Revolution was more than just a war; then by reading and looking into the Articles of Confederation we are able to see how these beliefs and ideals were implemented into a form of government.

AM: We seem to share a similar interest in the Revolutionary War. I think living during that time must have been exciting, and terrifying all at the same time. To be completely immersed by such enlightenment must have been a great thing.

http://www.history.com/videos/jefferson-writes-declaration-of-independence Video on Jefferson writing the Declaration of Independence

“By referring to the matter from argument to arms, a new era for politics is struck – a new method of thinking hath arisen.” (NAAL page: 327) The previous quote by Thomas Paine from Common Sense demonstrates the foundation of the American Revolution both in war and in theory. When the colonists went to war it was because by that point in time they felt like they had no other option. War wasn’t the ultimate goal of the period or the colonists; reform was the ultimate goal. When earlier requests for representation and equality weren’t met or even heard colonists were forced to take matters into their own hands.

“More than any other single publication, “Common Sense” paved the way for the Declaration of Independence, unanimously ratified July 4, 1776.” This quote was from a biography on history.com. Thomas Paine was definitely a mover and a shaker. I also read that George Washington ordered that the pamphlet be read to the troops at Vally Forge.

"Valley Forge"

American colonists yearned for a government that they were part of, where they didn’t feel oppressed or taken advantage of. “But Britain is the parent country, say some. Even brutes do not devour their young, nor savages make war upon their families…” (NAAL page: 328) There are many instances in Thomas Paine’s writing where he demonstrates the abuse of Great Britain. The same references to abuse are made in Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, begun at a distinguished period and pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty to throw off such government.” (NAAL page: 342).

This whole paragraph was fascinating to me. I wonder, if people became so disenchanted with their current situation- Could this happen again? Are the days of rising up against a greater power behind us? In a time where we can hardly influence sales tax, the feats that the Colonists achieved seems pretty paramount.

http://www.history.com/shows/america-the-story-of-us/videos/american-revolution Video on American Revolution

Once the American’s were liberated from Great Britain the momentum didn’t stop. American’s quickly drafted a document called the Articles of Confederation, which may have failed as a constitution but still demonstrate the fears, hopes and needs of American’s. After having been dominated and controlled for so long by a sovereign government, young America feared large government and tried to maintain a weak union with states providing their own laws, taxes and regulations. “The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.” (Article III from the Articles of Confederation).
It is apparent from the writings of the time as well as where we stand in history at this point that the Revolution wasn’t just a war. A war doesn’t provide people with the next step, which in this case was to form a government and yearn to be successful. The war gave Americans the opportunity to be successful but their own ambitions, desires and even fears where what led them to success.

AM: I like the quote that says "their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other". The Declaration of Independence definitely captured our basic hopes, and dreams as humans which is why it continues to be relevant today. If we could all find some common ground, I think that some more great things could be accomplished.

Kinda Creepy, but in the spirit of Halloween- Here's Thomas Paine's death mask
Reflection:I thought it was really interesting how Ashley's essay tied in with my essay. They were both very different pieces of writing but the theme in them was similar. I think that Ashley and I both have interest in the American Revolution both as a battle and as a state of mind, so that was a commonality we were able to find in our writing. I wonder how differently our essays would have been annotated had we not shared that interest. Over all though I think it was really neat to see and hear Ashely's respsonses and I feel like it expanded on my paper in a positive way!Ashely's a great partener and I love hearing her view points on things because sometimes they're so different than mine that they get me thinking and other times they're right in line with what I was thinking. this is the first class in a long time where I've had the opportunity for a peer review and I have to admit that it's something I really enjoy.