Crossing Brooklyn Ferry Summary:
In this poem, the speaker describes his daily commute on a ferry running between Brooklyn and Manhattan. He begins by describing his surroundings: the water below, the clouds, the sunrise, and therefore the commuters around him. Though all of the passengers are following their ordinary daily ritual, the speaker finds them to be “curious” (strange). He cares about all the people that have made this journey within the past and the way many are yet to repeat it long into the longer term. This thought carries him into a meditation on the connection between the past and therefore the future and the way all of the people on this particular ferry fit into the equation.
In the third section of the poem, the speaker explores the commonalities between all the commuters who have traveled and can travel on this ferry. regardless of the age, travelers on this ferry route will experience an equivalent, timeless view: the round masts, the steamer ships in motion, and therefore the seagulls flying by. The speaker feels as if these shared experiences can unite people across different historical eras. within the fifth section of the poem, he asserts that each one human is connected across time and space.
The speaker offers some details about the remainder of his routine – living in Brooklyn and dealing in Manhattan. He professes to be fairly confident in his identity. However, there are traces of darkness in his life, as well. He admits that sometimes, evil thoughts cross his mind. He wont to wonder if he was the sole one who felt this manner but has since overcome his insecurity. Now, he reassures his readers that he has continued living his life fully despite these moments of weakness. He has learned to quell his desire to sin as if he’s an actor playing a neighborhood, a bit like most of the people he passes on the road.
The speaker then “approaches” his readers more closely and claims that they see one another within the same way. He reiterates the eternal connection between all citizenry. within the 10th verse, he exclaims that nothing is more beautiful or admirable than his view of stately Manhattan from his ferry. He commands the river to stay flowing, the waves to stay frolicking, and therefore the clouds to drench him with their splendor. during a joyous tribute to his ferry trip, he lists all the various components of his environment and commands all to stay doing what it’s doing. He says that it’s the physical world that binds us all at once and allows us to understand our own souls. We must enjoy our physical surroundings, for our relationship with our surroundings is the ticket to achieving spirituality and fulfillment.
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.”
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.