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William Cullen Bryant
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Symbolism, Imagery, Wordplay
Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...
Form and Meter
Blank Verse (Unrhymed Iambic Pentameter)When we say that this poem is written in blank verse, that means a few things: Each line has five ("penta") "feet." A poetic foot is a basic rhythmic unit â€...
We know this poem doesnâ€™t come right out and tell you to believe in God, and we donâ€™t actually think itâ€™s "about" religion. Still, if weâ€™re just looking at the speakerâ€™s style, we totall...
OK, this might throw you off at first, but hereâ€™s how we see it. This whole poem has a kind of floaty feeling. All the things we see and hear about seem far away to us, as if we were looking do...
The sound we hear running through this poem is always calm and cool. It rustles and whispers, instead of crashing and thundering. It has a smooth, breathy voice, never sharp or harsh or grating....
What's Up With the Title?
Yeah, we definitely had to look this one up. Hereâ€™s the basic deal. This title is put together from two Greek words: "thanatos" (which means "death") and "opsis" (meaning "view," or "sight" â€...
Quiet, Spiritual Nature PoemsWilliam Cullen Bryant is best known for writing calm, thoughtful poems about the natural world. He experimented with a bunch of different kinds of forms and meters, bu...
Base Camp (4)This poem has a tricky, weird-sounding title and an old-fashioned style. Once weâ€™ve helped you through that, though, we think this poemâ€™s main idea is clear and consistent. Weâ€™...
Bryant got an early start in his writing career. At the age of 13, he published a successful political pamphlet called "The Embargo." He was about 17 when he wrote "Thanatopsis" (source).Brya...
GYeah, nothing steamy of any kind in this one. Actually, as much as we love it, this might be a contender for the least sexy poem ever.
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