Crossing Brooklyn Ferry Poems Summary & Analysis

Walt whitman
Walt whitman

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry Summary:

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry Analysis:

Walt Whitman wrote “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” before the development of the Brooklyn Bridge (which was completed in 1883). During Whitman’s time, the ferry was the way most commuters traveled between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Additionally, Whitman wrote this poem at the cusp of the American war, during a time when America’s identity was deeply bifurcated. Therefore, Whitman’s message of unity and therefore the importance of shared experiences was both rare and vital.

In accordance together with his signature style, Whitman wrote “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” in free-verse. The 1881 version is split into nine sections and has 147 lines. The sections are of varying lengths, as are the lines; Whitman didn’t wish to constrain his poetic expression with form, meter, or a selected rhyme scheme. Whitman also utilizes his favorite list technique repeatedly during this poem. He lists the aspects of his surroundings, lists, the evil thoughts he has had and therefore the sinful acts he has committed, and, at the very end of the poem, he lists the characteristics of his environment. These lists create a strong and detailed image, in order that the reader can travel alongside Whitman on the “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.”

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry
                           Walt whitman

The overarching theme of “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” is the shared human experience. Whitman draws the reader’s attention to the quiet details of his commute and makes them sound extraordinary. albeit time may pass and society might change, natural wonders just like the wind, the clouds, the sun, the seagulls, and therefore the water will always be markers of the journey between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Ultimately, Whitman makes “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” universal by emphasizing the inherent and enduring connection between man and nature.

The speaker’s journey between Manhattan and Brooklyn may be a metaphor for the passage of your time. The repetition of this trip across the East River time and time again represents the cycles of history. At the start of the poem, the speaker remarks that a lot  of have completed this journey before him and lots of will travel this route after he’s gone. the thought that a lot of will experience an equivalent feeling that he’s currently experiencing gives the speaker comfort. Although time will change many things – the faces of the people, the ferry itself, the cityscape before him – there are certain markers of his journey that citizenry can never tamper with. The poem, just like the ferry, moves the reader fluidly through past, present, and future and therefore the speaker’s words highlight the narrative thread that connects all citizenry.

Besides the ever-moving tide, Whitman uses light and darkness to symbolize the multiple facets of human identity. He describes his evil thoughts as his inner darkness, hidden from public view even as the night casts a blanket over the river during his evening commute. He also uses the stage as a metaphor to represent the difference between public life and personal life. He acknowledges that he features a sinful streak – but in society, everyone plays a task. The speaker’s tone within the poem is honest but also grateful. By appreciating the tiny things in his life, he seems like a neighborhood of something bigger.