"A Noiseless Patient Spider" is a two-stanza free poetry poem. Each stanza is a quintain, which means it comprises five lines. Each stanza additionally contains a single statement. The speaker's soul is described in the second stanza, while the spider is described in the first.
The poem was written in 1806 and was published three years later in Leaves of Grass, an anthology of poems by American author Walt Whitman. It is one of the earliest works of modernism in America.
Whitman was a leading figure in the Transcendentalist movement, which focused on the importance of spirituality and nature for improving human life. He wrote about every aspect of human existence: love, politics, society, science. His work is characterized by its abundance of energy and expression of strong opinions on many issues of the time.
In the poem, a silent patient spider spins a web in the shape of a circle on a tree trunk. This is something spiders do to catch insects. The spider does not eat the insect but rather uses it as food for her young. This action is called web spinning.
After describing the spider's actions, the poet turns his attention to the soul. He believes that if you accept reality as it is, you will not look for happiness outside yourself. Instead, you should focus on what you can control - your thoughts and actions - and let the rest go.
The Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman is a meditative poem that employs literary tropes such as personification, metaphor, imagery, repetition, alliteration, and assonance to convey to the reader the writer's sense of loneliness and existential agony. Through these poetic devices, the poet seeks to express the unspeakably painful experience of being human.
Literary devices such as these are useful for explaining ideas and feelings that could not be expressed otherwise. For example, metaphor is often employed by poets to make abstract concepts more easily understood by describing them in physical terms (e.g., "a summer's day"). Imagery is used to give life to words by describing objects or events in terms of their effects on the senses (e.g., "the moon shines with its yellow light"). Personification involves giving a character or entity human qualities such as thoughts, feelings, and desires. In this way, someone or something can be said to have done something.
In addition to these creative uses of language, scholars have also studied how writers employ certain techniques for stylistic effect. For example, repetition is used by poets to create rhythm or tension in their work by repeating words or phrases within a line or lines (e.g., "I am lonesome / I sit alone by my fire"). Allusion is when one text or idea refers to another text or idea explicitly or implicitly.
The speaker in Whitman's poem "A Noiseless Patient Spider" views the universe as a division of spheres that can only be united by the inner gossamer threads that must be shot out of man. According to the speaker, his soul need connection and anchoring. The linking device, ironically, is within man. This idea is similar to that of modern philosophers such as Henri Bergson and Albert Camus.
Whitman also uses the spider as a symbol for America. The spider spins its own web, catching flies for food but not men. It has no desire for conquest or glory. Rather, it lives in harmony with other creatures and enjoys the simple things in life. This description fits America well. Also, the spider has no voice of its own; it relies on others to communicate its thoughts. This is similar to how Americans live their lives. They do not act alone, but instead seek guidance and support from others.
Finally, the spider's body is composed of many parts that work together. Its legs, for example, serve as levers that allow it to jump high distances. The same can be said for America. One person cannot change the world, but together people can achieve great things.
These are just some examples of what the noiseless patient spider means to different people. There are many more ways in which this image can be interpreted.