Write a 150 word response to each of the discussion posts.
1. In the poem about the astronomer, note the use of parallelism again, first nouns then verbs in phrases like “charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure.” Then, in the second half, both the pattern (no more repeated phrases) and tone change — the narrator shifts from being “tired and sick” to being mesmerized by the “mystical night-air.” What is Whitman symbolizing about the nature of teaching and learning versus the act of discovery on one’s own in a thriving act of observing the world?
2. In the poem about the spider, Whitman seems both enthralled by and a bit jealous of the spider, who can work so feverishly, all alone, building and maintaining his web to connect portions of space. How is a spider different than a human, beyond size and instinct? Is Whitman suggesting that humans are both like spiders, seeking a way to connect the world, but also social creatures that depend on a web of friends and family to create meaning and purpose in life?