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A Noiseless Patient Spider

A Noiseless Patient Spider

by Walt Whitman

Isolation Theme

Whitman helps us out here by actually using the word. Remember how that spider "stood isolated" in line 2? The poet makes a big deal about how the soul is also cut-off from other objects and the outside world. A feeling of isolation might be the biggest emotional component of this poem.

Questions About Isolation

  1. Do you think isolation is a bad thing in this poem? Do you feel sorry for the spider or the soul?
  2. Do you think the soul and the spider are isolated in different ways? If so, how would you describe that difference?
  3. Is the comparison of the soul to the spider a way of connecting the soul to the world? Is it a partial cure for isolation?
  4. If the soul or the spider seems isolated, do you think that will change? Will that change be permanent or temporary?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

In the end, the poem leaves us isolated. It brings up the possibility of connection, but, since it never happens, the overall feeling of the poem is melancholy and hopeless.

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