5 March 2018
Introduction to Literary Study Paper #1
“When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer,” written by American poet, essayist, and journalist Walt Whitman, he gives readers an outlook that wisdom is better than knowledge. Whitman describes the surrounding (lecture room), full of enthusiastic students but then disorientates the flow with a character’s escape plan. He states: “the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room, How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick.” (line 4 & 5). This part of the poem is the main focus point which drives the poem into a leading resolution. He states: “till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself” (line 6). The character becomes bombarded with the excessive information given by the astronomer and decides to leave the lecture room. With the use of his words, Whitman captures a scène which portrays to readers that the best way to gain valuable knowledge, is to be “hands on.”
The character figures he should look at the astronomy from a primary aspect and without the use of non-compelling statistics. He states: “Look’d up in the perfect silence at the stars” (line 8) Whitman argues having wisdom is the capability of learning beyond what is being provided, and being able to physically learn through the five senses to have a better advantage of an achievement in the long run. It is better to have wisdom rather than, becoming bombarded with things like, “proofs, figures, columns, charts, diagrams” (3 and 4). The argument as mentioned is knowledge vs wisdom. Whitman discerns the idea that as beings we are most likely to forget the things of monotony and remember the things of activeness. Imagine a lecture being merely a long list of facts that you cannot follow because of the overwhelming use of statistics. Trying to pay attention to the lecturer could easily become a mind-numbing exercise. That is where wisdom comes to play. With physical activeness comes wisdom, discovery, and forever lasting knowledge.
The author vividly introduces, and brings reader through a typical lecture room. The poem consists of eight lines. The first four lines of the poem set up the situation, and the last for tells the reader what happened. He states: “I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,” (line 3) he than immediately attacks and states things like, “tired” and “sick” (line 5). Whitman states: “How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick, Till rising and gliding out I wander’s off by myself” (line 5). This gives the reader a sense that the character has a faint sense of disdain towards formal education.
Although, the writer could be talking about a specific scenery, the compel of the...