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Noiseless Pairnt Spider

  • Date Submitted: 07/15/2013 05:34 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 55.3 
  • Words: 795
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A Noiseless Patient Spider

A NOISELESS, patient spider,

I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,

Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,

It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,

Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my Soul where you stand,

Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,

Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them;

Till the bridge you will need, be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,

Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my Soul.

“The Noiseless Patient Spider” by Walt Whitman illustrates man’s search for meaning in the universe in a brief ten lines. It compares a spider catapulting itself to begin making a web to man’s pondering of his place in the “measureless oceans of space.” It powerfully expresses the need for both the spider and man to discover what is out there and make connections, to find something to hold on to. It speaks to the loneliness that man can feel, as well as the optimism that there is more to this experience than what is right in front him.

Whitman uses the isolated spider that is considering “how to explore the vacant vast surrounding” as a metaphor for the soul, standing alone, “surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space.” The spider “launched forth filament, filament, filament out of itself” with every assumption that it will land somewhere and continue on with its web spinning. Much the same, man is “ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing” and seeing where he lands. Perhaps he will continue on alone for now, but, eventually, he may encounter another soul and find that safe place to land. He may find the connection that he has been seeking.

Whitman employs symbolism with his selection of the “noiseless patient spider” as his subject. It sits quiet and alone “on a little promontory” taking in the vastness of its environment, much like the...


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