Patrolling Barnegat Notes

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  • Created on: 21-05-11 16:49
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Patrolling Barnegat ­ Coastal town in America
The poem is set on a beach on a stormy, wintry night. This poem explores nature in all its
fury, during a storm at sea.
Structural devices
The poem is one long sentence, which helps to show the power, force, and
the speed of the storm. Because of the way it is punctuated, you are forced to
read the poem more quickly, with no long pauses. This helps the reader to
feel the uncontrollable nature of the storm. Reading the poem out loud can
even make you breathless.
Each line ends with a verb. This helps to make the storm sound as if it is
building up and getting out of control as there is so much going on
This poem is a sonnet (14 lines) Sonnets are often associated with love, so it's
interesting that Whitman used this form for a poem that contains violence and
confusion. He was recording an experience, which was intense, vivid, and
wild as love can be.
Rhyme Whitman's sonnet however has just one rhyme throughout the ing
sound at the end of each line. However because the rhyming syllable at the end
of each line is never a stressed syllable the effect is of a series of
'almostrhymes' or halfrhymes, more like echoes than rhymes.
Subject matter of ever line changed, which suggests that the storm is
Language devices
Alliteration ­ `piercing and pealing'
Rhetorical Questions ­ `is the red signal flaring?' ­ doesn't know what he can
see, adds to the confusion
The poem is written in present tense, this gives a sense of immediacy, which adds
to the drama as we do not know what is going to happen
Repetition R­ `milkwhite combs careering' for extra emphasis and it also suggests
that the waves keep coming
Sound The rhythm is slowed down `steadily, slowly...' to add a dramatic effect as
the pace is varied. The poet makes the gale sound terrifying by comparing it to a
people's voices `muttering' and `laughing demons
Imagery ­ The gale seems to be a monster that roars and mutters constantly, so
that the air is full of noise. It is as if something wild has been unleashed. Waves, air,
midnight are seen as the savagest trinity the three elements work together to
create a fearsome, evil atmosphere. In Christianity the Holy Trinity of Father, Son
and Holy Ghost is an image of God's serene and heavenly power. This savage
Trinity, however, is Hellish (echoes of demoniac from the previous line). What this
suggests is that the storm is so violent that it threatens to invert the normal,
Godgiven order of things and replace it with a chaotic, devilish Disorder.
Savage ­ brutal primeval source, animallike, wild and unforgiving
Confusion of form = Confusion of storm


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