Seminar Class 10/24/12

On wednesday’s class, Professor Kahan discussed the topics of romanticism and realism as an introduction to Walt Whitman’s Crossing Brooklyn Ferry. The romantic era occurred in the 19th century just as the rise of the bourgeois was beginning. This time period examined the dark side of arts and literature. For example, the well known novels Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde came from this era. Unlike the romantic era, the realist era dealt with topics in literature that can truly occur in real life. A great example of a piece of literature that was written during this time period is Washington Square. It is a part of realistic literature because a heiress during that time could truly be deciveed by a man for her money.

After our discussion about these two time periods, we talked about Walt Whitman’s poem Crossing Brooklyn Ferry. I was happy to have read the poem before discussing it in class as a homework assignment. It was a great way for me to fully understand the meaning of the poem and, more importantly, to help me interpret the poem based on my own ideas and thoughts. When we discussed the poem in class on wednesday, most of what was said was similar to my own interpretations of the poem. However, there were some interesting ideas that I never thought of while reading the poem on my own. For example, Professor Kahan pointed out that Whitman repeats many of his ideas throughout the poem.  The repetition in this poem was considered a soothing element. However, the idea of repetition is not always soothing for it can also be considered annoying as well. We also compared this idea of repetition in the poem to the repetition in the Book of Psalms in the Bible. The repetition in the Book of Psalms is also considered a soothing element just as it was in Whitman’s poem.

Although English and Literature are not two of m favorite topics to study, I enjoyed wednesday’s discussion on Walt Whitman’s poem. I look forward to hearing my classmates’ poems as well as reading my own poem to the class on monday.