Poetic Devices used in the poem ‘Animals’ are given here. The poem is written by Walt Whitman, an American poet and also called the father of ‘Free verse’. Poetic devices enhance the poem in making it more appealing and influential from a literature point of view. Go through the major poetic devices of the poem ‘Animals’.
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Animals Poem by Walt Whitman
Outline of the Poem ‘Animals’
‘Animals’ is a poem written by Walt Whitman. In the poem the poet praises animals and compares them with humans. He tries to highlight the flaws of human nature and asserts that long time ago, humans possessed all the good qualities but they have lost them now. The poet wishes to live among the animals.
The poem begins with the poet wishing to turn into an animal and live with them. He says that animals are calm and happy with their surroundings, unlike human beings. The poet says that he stands and looks at them for a long time and observes them and realises how content and self-contained are they.
In the next stanza, the poet says that animals neither complain nor cry about the conditions. Unlike human beings, they eat and sleep peacefully, whereas human beings keep worrying about their sins and cannot sleep peacefully at night. Even after committing sins, humans talk about God and their duties towards God but animals are so pure that they do not need to pray to God or ask for forgiveness.
The poet says in the next stanza that not a single animal is dissatisfied and they don’t have the desire to possess material things, unlike human beings who are badly affected by these two vices. Animals are free from kneeling down or praying to their ancestors. All the animals are equal, and all of these features make animals happy and uncomplaining.
In the last stanza, the poet says that in his opinion animals show a connection with human beings in some way, which means that animals seem to have virtues which humans once had. The animals still represent the lost values of human beings which they have lost. Through this poem, the poet asserts that humans have forgotten about these lost virtues and civilisation has corrupted them and instilled greed in them.
Poetic Devices of the Poem ‘Animals’
Rhyme Scheme: There is no rhyme as the poem is written in free verse.
Anaphora — Use of repeated words at the beginning of two or more consecutive lines
- ‘They do not’ – Second Stanza
- ‘Not one’ – Third Stanza
Personification: The poem has uniform personification
Repetition: Repetition of words/phrases in the same line
- I stand and look at them long and long
Alliteration: Repetition of initial consonant sounds in the same line.
- They do not make me sick
- I wonder where they get those tokens
- I stand and look at them long and long.
Assonance — Use of vowel sound ‘I’ (I think I… live with animals)
- ‘Sweat and whine’ – refer to the cries and complaints of human beings.
- ‘tokens’ – The inner qualities of humans are referred to as ‘tokens’