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In the poem When Lilacs Last In The Dooryard Bloomd by Walt Whitman three important symbols are introduced These symbols of a star the lilac and a bird exhibit Whitmans transcendentalism and serve as an allusion to Abraham Lincolns life and death Whitmans poetry through these symbols opens a window to the prevailing social attitudes moral beliefs and cultural disposition of his time through his allusions to President Lincoln To understand Whitmans poetry one must first know something about the poet himselfWalt Whitman was born on May 31 1819 in Long Island New York Whitman disliked the idea of becoming a carpenter like his father and opted to seek his own fortune The publishing of Leaves of Grass Whitmans major literary work was a major turning point in Whitmans life Before he was a teacher printer journalist carpenter and more After no matter what else he did he was a poet Wiener 14 Whitmans strong opposition to slavery gave him problems later on as in life Langston Hughes relates when he says Whitman had been an editor of the Brooklyn Eagle but was fired there in 1948 because he refused to support Governor Cass of Michigan who advocated the continuation of slaveryWiener 196 Whitman greatly influenced many people of his time period but also was influenced by other writers Russell Blankenship a professor at the University of Washington relates this fact when he says that Whitman was influenced by the revered American writer and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson Wiener 106 Emerson is commonly known as a transcendentalist A transcendentalist is a person who is idealistic and optimistic They believed they could find answers to whatever they were seeking All they had to do was learn to read through their intuition the external symbols of nature and translate them into spiritual factsBrulatour Whitmans transcendentalism is significant in When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomd because of the use of three symbols that serve as an allusion
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