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Review of Walt Whitman's Poem ‘A Noiseless Patient Spider’

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The speaker of the poem titled ‘A Noiseless Patient Spider’ by Walt Whitman is Walt Whitman himself. I came to this conclusion since it is in the first person perspective as evidenced with the usage of the word “I”. We know that his attitudes on race have been described as “unstable and inconsistent”. He did not constantly agree with the abolitionists, but praised human dignity. He is considered one of the greatest American poets. Romanticism was a movement Whitman was involved with.

‘A Noiseless Patient Spider’ was originally published in October 1868 by the Broadway Magazine. This is a little bit over three years since the American Civil War ended on April 9, 1865. It would be understandable that the United States is still recovering from such a large scale conflict. I believe this is the event that prompts the reader to speak since it affected so many citizens in the United States. Ideas were being conflicted and many lives were lost during the course of the war.

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Walt Whitman is speaking to individuals who have a lot of patience as that is his main focus in his poem. He wants people to slow down and take a look at the world around them. There are most likely many details that they miss or events taking place that they never bother to notice. In this case, Whitman is observing the life of a spider. Impatience will do very little for you besides making you easy to aggravate and have a low tolerance for anything that comes your way. Everyone should strive to be like the spider is basically what he is trying to say.

The purpose of the poem is to express that animals and humans are not so different from one another. They have many characteristics they share with one another, but Whitman emphasizes only one of them in his poem. Both share the trait of persistence which Whitman sees in his own soul and the spider. Persistence is “the act of persisting or persevering; continuing or repeating behavior”.

The subject of the poem is patience. When you are patient, you notice more about the world around you. It is comparable to opening yourself up to a whole new world and we should all strive to become patient people. Whitman describes the intricate process of a spider weaving its threads to form a web. The tone of the poem is admiring. Whitman expresses admiration over the spider over the course of the poem, focused on it like a lens and not letting it out of his sight with his constant observations.

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Review of Walt Whitman’s Poem ‘A Noiseless Patient Spider’. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from
“Review of Walt Whitman’s Poem ‘A Noiseless Patient Spider’.” Edubirdie, 01 Sept. 2022,
Review of Walt Whitman’s Poem ‘A Noiseless Patient Spider’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 Sept. 2023].
Review of Walt Whitman’s Poem ‘A Noiseless Patient Spider’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 01 [cited 2023 Sept 28]. Available from:
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