American Literature, Best Critical, Uncategorized

Blog Post 3, Week 5

Give a brief account (in your own words) of why Whitman referred to Abraham Lincoln as “O Captain! My Captain”.

Walt Whitman’s 1865 poem, ‘O Captain! My Captain’, was written in honour of Abraham Lincoln shortly after his assassination during that year. Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States of America, in office for a 4-year period from March 1861 until his death in April 1865. It was during this time that the American Civil War was fought. This background knowledge of Lincoln helps us to understand why Whitman referred to him as ‘Captain’ throughout his poem.

Abraham Lincoln, 1863

‘O Captain! My Captain’ is an extended metaphor written around the theme of Lincoln’s death. Throughout the poem, the “ship” symbolises America with Lincoln represented as the “Captain” as it is he who was running the country, the ship. With the Civil War being fought in America at the time, Lincoln was well-loved for his accomplishments, especially with the banning of slavery in America. “Where on the deck my Captain lies, fallen cold and dead” completes this metaphor of Lincoln being the Captain of the ship that is America as we are able to feel the grief and sorrow felt towards Lincoln’s death throughout the poem as Whitman, alongside all of America, has just lost an important leader of their “vessel”.


“Abraham Lincoln.” Web. 4 Sept. 2017.

Whitman, Walt. O, Captain! My Captain. 1865. Print.



Gardner, Alexander. Abraham Lincoln. 1863. Web. 4 Sept. 2017.

19th Century Literature, Best Critical

Blog Post 4 Week 6

Write a letter to Mr Gradgrind telling him what you think about the way he treated his own daughter, particularly with reference to the marriage arrangements he has created.

Dear Mr Gradgrind,

Are you even aware of your daughter’s feelings? Have you ever stopped to think of what she may think and feel, of why she does not speak up more?

You have blocked off feelings entirely, so much that those around you feel as though they must too. Louisa is a young woman full of emotion, and yet, she cannot open up, she cannot explore and express these feelings when she is around you. How could you treat your daughter in a way that she feels she is unable to be open with you?

And as if this is not enough, you are going to force her into an arranged marriage that she feels as though she cannot be honest about? Does your daughter even want to marry Mr Bounderby? How much does she know and like about him beyond his wealth?

He may be wealthy but have you thought to ask Louisa what qualities she wishes her husband to possess? I know that I personally would not list wealth to be towards the very top of mine. That I would wish to have a say in my marriage, to choose my own husband and be able to express each and every one of my feelings towards the matter openly. If my family arranged my marriage for me I would be furious! And to think you do not even know your daughter’s opinions and feelings towards the matter – or any matter in fact! It’s utterly disgraceful!

Mr Gradgrind, I propose that before you even consider planning your daughter’s future, you should take a step back and assess whether you truly have the right to make these decisions for her. How can one plan another’s future without even truly knowing them?

Thank you,