Most of people, especially who like to reading poetry, knows the works of Walt Whitman. And also, Whitman was known as the first American Poet which influenced many Poets in the world, until now. In this paper, I will analyze two of Whitman’s poem, namely To A Stranger and We Two—How Long We Were Fool’d.
Both of them have the same character the poet did to build the meaning. And also, the closed sentences at the end of the poems are an important point to know what about the other of live from those poems. From the To A Stranger, we can find how the paradox relationship between someone self with the other. Usually, the familiar people are who have close relationship with each other. But, in To A Stranger, the friendly relationship is not like that.
Then, in We Two—How Long We Were Fool’d, there is a resistance to be a freedom man. As we know, home can be special place to the people do anything s/he need. Home like a small world and the owner is the God. We can say it to express how the home is the unencumbered area for everyone. But, in We Two—How Long We Were Fool’d, home is not like that. There, home as same as with prison, where the people felt unhappy and restraint.
Moreover, let me to analyze both of poems. But, before that, I have copy-paste the complete verse of those poems. Take it:
To A Stranger
Passing stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me, as of a dream,)
I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you,
All is recall’d as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,
You grew up with me, were a boy with me, or a girl with me,
I ate with you, and slept with you—your body has become not yours only, nor left my body mine only,
You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass—you take of my beard, breast, hands, in return,
I am not to speak to you—I am to think of you when I sit alone, or wake at night alone,
I am to wait—I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.
The first line of the poem above indicate that the narrator felt bore too much, because the expression // … how longingly I look upon you …// that the narrator say to a stranger show how the narrator did not like to meet with familiar people, it cause make narrator try to find the stranger forever, so that when narrator see the stranger, it was very logic if s/he say how longingly I look upon you. Boredom make it happened. Then, the second line // … You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me, as of a dream,) … // add and support my interpretation before: how the narrator very need unfamiliar one. The coming of the stranger that said by narrator like a dream. It is may be the nice dream.
But, the interpretations before were changed by the third line: // I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you //. It adds another interpretation. In the interpretations before, the narrator as if felt bored to the familiar people and narrator need anyone that s/he thinks strange. But, the third line indicates that the stranger of the narrator said is the familiar people. It is the paradox! The add interpretation before support clearly by fourth line until sentence: // You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass—you take of my beard, breast, hands, in return … //. It is indicate the stranger is the familiar.
And the next line (three last sentences from the end) leads we to the next paradox act that the narrator did because her/his soul. Narrator not to speak with the stranger, but narrators think of stranger when s/he sit alone. It interpretation make a sentence, what about the narrator’s soul, so that s/he “see” the familiar people to be the stranger?
Of course, there is no sure answer to that question. But, it indicates how hard the remoteness the narrator felt, so those narrators think the familiar person as a stranger one. Whereas, the stranger is the narrator. It was the paradox poem.
The next poem, We Two—How Long We Were Fool’d, also I have copy-paste the complete verse.
We Two—How Long We Were Fool’d
WE two--how long we were fool'd!
Now transmuted, we swiftly escape, as Nature escapes;
We are Nature--long have we been absent, but now we return;
We become plants, leaves, foliage, roots, bark;
We are bedded in the ground--we are rocks;
We are oaks--we grow in the openings side by side;
We browse--we are two among the wild herds, spontaneous as any;
We are two fishes swimming in the sea together;
We are what the locust blossoms are--we drop scent around the lanes,
mornings and evenings;
We are also the coarse smut of beasts, vegetables, minerals; 10
We are two predatory hawks--we soar above, and look down;
We are two resplendent suns--we it is who balance ourselves, orbic
and stellar--we are as two comets;
We prowl fang'd and four-footed in the woods--we spring on prey;
We are two clouds, forenoons and afternoons, driving overhead;
We are seas mingling--we are two of those cheerful waves, rolling
over each other, and inter wetting each other;
We are what the atmosphere is, transparent, receptive, pervious,
We are snow, rain, cold, darkness--we are each product and influence
of the globe;
We have circled and circled till we have arrived home again--we two
We have voided all but freedom, and all but our own joy.
One of key from poem above is the sentence: // We two--how long we were fool'd! Now transmuted, we swiftly escape, as Nature escapes … //. It was the consciousness from the narrator do before. What is it? The answer of this question has been answered at the end of the poem, namely: // … We have circled and circled till we have arrived home again--we two have; we have voided all but freedom, and all but our own joy. //.
Home! Home is the important key word in that poem. And another keyword is circled. At the begin of the poem, the narrator have been say how stupid they are, it because they—narrator—arrived to the home. Narrator wants to be themselves. Narrator said themselves as Nature. They long time have been absent as Nature of home. The consciousness of narrator is went out from the home and go to the circled. What is the circled? Circled is the everything, everywhere to be an narrator that there are in line 3 (We are Nature--long have …) until sentence // We are snow, rain, cold, darkness--we are each product and influence of the globe //. The circled is the freedom. But the freedom was over when the narrator arrived to the home. Narrator felt stupid or fool’d because of it. The sentence how long we were fool'd indicate that the narrator want be a freedom and happy so much!
In conclusion, from the both of poems, we can see the remoteness and resistance of human soul. The To A Stranger show us that the hard remoteness can change the mind to think the other is the real stranger. And the We Two—How Long We Were Fool’d show us how the freedom is the most important in people life. But, remoteness is not a freedom. The freedom is not remoteness.