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Whitman's Oratorical Persona and the Reader

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    Walt Whitman began his career as writer when public speaking was a universal means of communication in the nineteenth century America. His interest in public speaking and the skills of oratory helped him develop the oratorical style in his poetry. Therefore, it is natural to detect the influence of oratory in many of his poems. As Whitman believed that oratory was more powerful than the written word, he intentionally attempted to make his poems appeal to the ears of the readers. The purpose of this paper is to clarify the functions of Whitman"s oratorical persona and its poetical meaning focussing on the relationship between the poet and the reader. Whitman projects the oratorical persona and assumes that the poet-reader relationship as orator-hearer relationship. The following is the summary of the functions of Whitman"s oratorical persona and his reader (hearer). First, the message delivered by the oratorical persona is powerful and prophetic making Whitman"s poetry religious. Second, Whitman"s oratorical persona makes his text as a space in which the interrelationship between the poet and the reader is made. Third, Whitman"s oratorical persona emphasizes the openness of the text giving the roles of the readers to complete the text. Fourth, the message of the oratorical persona is offered in the present tense. Thus, its immediacy us felt by the reader transcending the time and space.


  • 주제어

    oratory .   persona .   text .   prophetic .   listener .   reader.  

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