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Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry


by Walt Whitman

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry Awe and Amazement Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (section.line)

Quote #1

Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes! how curious you are to me!
On the ferry-boats, the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home, are more curious to me than you suppose, (lines 3-4)

The speaker is the kind of person who can be entertained by anything. Give him something shiny and he'll be good to go for hours. Here he marvels at the people on the boat, even though they are just normal commuters in "the usual costumes." He's like, "You wouldn't think I'd find this so curious, but I do!"

Quote #2

The glories strung like beads on my smallest sights and hearings – on the walk in the street, and the passage over the river, (line 9)

The speaker is a kid in a candy shop, except his candy shop is all of New York City. Everything is glorious to him. He compares the various sights and sounds from the ferry to beads on a necklace.

Quote #3

I watched the Twelfth Month sea-gulls – I saw them high in the air, floating with motionless wings, oscillating their bodies,
I saw how the glistening yellow lit up parts of their bodies, and left the rest in strong shadow,
I saw the slow-wheeling circles, and the gradual edging toward the south. (lines 29-31)

Of all the things he admires in the poem, the sea-gulls deserve special mention. A lot of times he just lists things that he thinks are great, but here he goes into fine detail, describing how the light reflects of their bodies and how they hover in circles. Why do you think these average birds – which many people find to be an annoyance – are so important to him?

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