Literature Essay Paper Sample on Compare and Contrast

Compare and contrast

Comparing, contrasting and critiquing poems by Walt Whitman and Robert Frost’s poems

Poetry like any other form of literature may sometimes be very complicated especially when comparing the use of literary techniques between two authors writing about different phenomenon. Unlike in proses where there is plenty of words to describe and clarify issues, poems are different and therefore the use of literary devices are commonly used to explain the author’s intent. It is therefore important for a reader to read between the lines so that mental images may be easy to interpret and comprehend.

Whitman and Robert Frost are authors who view the world in their own vision and it is quite a challenge to understand the meaning of their messages. They write poems that seems weird and ambiguous, but they are very profound and tuneful. Despite this fact, they both have similarities and differences that differentiates between their style and literature technique use. There is extensive use of symbolism and other analogies by the poets to portray an emotional and in-depth style of writing that has effect on the reader. Poems like “oh captain mycaptain”(Peck, 2015, p. 120), and/or “A road not taken” (Bloom, 1999) are easy to understand if literature knowledge is present. Both poet prefer to use emotionally charging moments without telling the reader what’s really happening. This is aimed at creating suspense and trying to let the reader relate to their personal experiences. Whitman and frost are well known and talented poets and for the purpose of this study therefore, their differences, similarities as well as their critique will be studied in the subsequent sections.

In “A road not taken” by Robert Frost, the notion of making life decision is highlighted  and is compared with the different choices  one has to make when making walks in the forest (Frost, 1993). He talks of different paths in the forest meaning different decisions in one’s life. This explains thedecisions people make daily. Whitman on the other hand uses the common ideas of being a captain of a ship thus explaining emotional experience. He is more personal in his use of symbolism than Frost.

Form of verses is one of the differences that the two poets exhibits. Whitman for example is known to use the free verse form in his writing, thus avoiding the traditional rhyme schemes and other poetic devices (Aguilar, Lubling, & Elon University, 2009, p.28). At the same he uses obscure, invented and other foreign words thereby making his poems distinct and to some extent difficult to be understood. Despite this fact, the use of the free verse form style brings closer poetry to ordinary people in an appealing and speech like format. Robert Frost on the other hand used the traditional formal verse to pass his messages to people rather than the literature connoisseurs.  Whitman praises individuality and even goes ahead to consider himself as a model. The poem “song of myself” explains the significant of the beauty of personality. His poem (Casale, 2010). Controversy in his work is brought about by the use of erotic mood, though this is meant to explain the beauty of the body that harbor’s the soul. It should however be noted that two touching bodies creates a bond between them thereby forming a spiritualunion. Frost emphasizes on individuals but he is more pessimistic and creates a distance between one person and the other. This creates the notion that people are distinct and separate and his view n human life emanates from stoicism and dark meditations on know-how as indicated by the poem “birches”.

A similarity that exist between the two poets is their love for nature and the use of imagery. Frost portrays the New England landscapes with the intent of creating imagery in the minds of the readers as given in the, “After Apple-Picking” or “Two Tramps in Mud Time”. In this, he is able to express the nature’s local truth. Whitman on the other hand expressed space and situation by describing cities, journeys and other outdoors. Both have tried to use plants symbolically.

There is also a difference between the two poets as far as political views and the way they are displayed in poets.  Robert Frost for example is cautious of religion, mysticism as well as politics and try’s to evade them in his writing and does not describe in his writing regional unity or any sense of community. Whitman considers democracy to be both the right policy and a path that explains the world. In his writing, democracy entails the entire individual equality and that an ideal society that is democratic is that which is formed from a bond of unique as well as equal partners (Whitman, 2001).

Summing it all, between the two poets; Whitman and Frost, there exists many differences and similarities which can be recognized in the poems of Whitman and Frost. Their poems were constructed so that they could address and be accessed by a holistic audience. In their poems, various aspects of nature has been explained through the use of beauty, location, places and other outdoor features that resembled nature. All in all differences that exists between the two poets largely are as a result of differences in the world view between the two poets. Whitman praised himself, his country as well as life in general while Frost believe was that life was a coincidence or a tragedy and this became a major standpoint in his writings. The pessimistic outlook conflicts with the optimistic view that Whitman had.


Aguilar, J., Lubling, Y., & Elon University. (2009). The only sin is limitation: Essays on R.W. Emerson’s multi-faceted influence on America : papers presented at Elon University American Philosophy 432, Professor YoramLubling, Spring, 2009. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse.

Bloom, H. (1999). Robert Frost. Broomall, PA: Chelsea House Publishers.

Casale, F. D. (2010). Bloom’s How to Write about Walt Whitman. New York: Infobase Pub.

Frost, R. (1993). The road not taken, and other poems. New York: Dover Publications.

Peck, G. (2015). Walt Whitman in Washington, D.C: The Civil War and America’s great poet.

Whitman, W. (2001). Song of myself. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.