10. 24. 12

Today, we started class with a short history on the Romantic era. It was interesting to see the shift in thought from the mid-18th century, individualism and skepticism, to the end of the century, moving toward realism. Speaking of this shift, I did some research on composers from the Romantic era. One of the composers that I think represents the Romantic era best is Tchaikovsky. Tchaikovsky wrote a whole piece about a revolution (1812 Overture). When you think about it, most of the literature taught in high school is from the mid- to late 18th century. A couple of these pieces include Moby Dick by Herman Melville and the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Even some of the most studied poets in high school are from the Romantic era such as Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allen Poe.

The introduction of the Romantic era led us into our discussion of Crossing Brooklyn Ferry by Walt Whitman. I think it is evident by the poem that Whitman is a cross between the Romanticism and Realism eras. The Romantic elements of his poem are displayed by the theme. The Realistic element is in his descriptive writing of the scenery.

It was nice discussing the poem piece by piece because it helped me realize more about the poem. I was confused about the beginning of the poem, I couldn’t figure out why he was mentioning so many subjects and referring to them all as “you”. After it was stated that Whitman was changing the perspective, I realized it made sense that he was addressing different subjects to give us a big picture view. The symbolization of the seagulls completely flew over my head until Andrew mentioned it in class. This poem made me realized that not everything has to make sense, as long as I can see the big picture.

– Amber G