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Beat! Beat! Drums!

Beat! Beat! Drums!


by Walt Whitman

Beat! Beat! Drums! Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Why does our speaker address the poem to the drums and the bugles? Why doesn't he address, say, the people playing those instruments, or those hearing them?
  2. Why does our speaker give the commands he does? Are those the things that he wants to happen?
  3. Which of the people in the poem do you feel for the most? The student, maybe? Or the groom? Why? Whose life is disrupted the most?
  4. Take a look at the adjectives our speaker uses to describe the instruments. Why does he pick those adjectives? What do they tell us?
  5. Is this poem more about disruption or solidarity?
  6. Do you think Walt Whitman is making a political commentary here, or is she just being the poet he is: observing what's around him and putting it into words?
  7. Do the people in this poem have any say in what's going on? Or are they powerless before the effects of the drums and bugles?

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