Walt Whitman lived between 1819-1892 and contributed to the literal world by publishing an array of poems that he document in a collection known as Leaves of Grass. It is argued that he lived during the transition from transcendentalism and realism; hence, his writing comprised of both styles. Whitman’s poems present the philosophy of life and humanity and the connection between human beings and the environment. One of his poems that will be explicitly discussed in this paper is When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d. The poem was written as a tribute to the late President Abraham Lincoln after he was assassinated in 1865. One of the most unique things in this poem is that is written in a narrative prose and devices of the pastoral elegy. It touches about the unfortunate incidences of war referring to the American Civil War (1861-1865) that precedence the assassination.
“When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” is popularly known for making use of symbolism and imagery.The commonly used symbols are lilacs, western star, and the hermit thrush. These three features have symbolic meanings that represent the mode of grief. The western star is what appeared to the speaker when he learnt the death of his loved one. “O powerful, western, fallen star! This implies that the speaker is mourning of someone great who made the flowers to flourish and the star to shine bright. It is important to note that the neither the speaker nor the deceased are expository defined in the poem. Then the poem talks of a hermit thrush which is a bird that hides its ego in the poem. This can be explained as the people who ignite the public into fighting. They should hide their ego and let peace prevail because war is not a solution to people’s problems. Whitman tries to tackle to issues in one piece which include mourning and warning people against turning on each other. The poem describes the deceased as a shining star which means that he was capable of doing great things, but war made him meet his death. The hermit hides in the swamp’s grass to avoid its public display because it is influential. Therefore, When Lilacs in the Dooryard Bloom’d is an educative poem to the entire public.
In the same breadth, E.O. Wilson authored a book titled “Is War Inevitable?” which tries to identify why human beings remain in a warring nature. Wilson asserts that humans are similar to the ancient hunters and gatherers only that they need more food and larger territories. There is a psychological belief in humans that they should gain more and more materialistic wants and needs. This notion has been passed from one generation to the other making it a common characteristic of a human being. Wilson blames the common feature of conflict by humans on tribal aggression which he says dates back to prehistory. Unlike Whitman who uses symbolism and imagery, Wilson attacks the effects of war directly saying that it is only meant to benefit a few and bring death to majority. Demographics and population growth are also cited as causes of wars. This is because high population endures lack of resources, which are defined as food and territory. As a result, they tend to turn to the other tribes which seem stable with resources. This is why Wilson cites tribal aggression as core cause for war. Therefore, these two authors have despised conflicts by exploring their adverse effects.