A Noiseless Patient Spider

A Noiseless Patient Spider

 by Walt Whitman

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

Summary of A Noiseless Patient Spider

  • Popularity of “A Noiseless Patient Spider”: This poem was written by Walt Whitman, a great American poet. A Noiseless Patient Spider is famous for its themes of isolation and struggle. It was first published in 1891. The poem unfolds the story of a lonely spider, which the poet examines so carefully. It illustrates how the spider tries to connect things while weaving its web.
  • “A Noiseless Patient Spider”, As a Representative of Loneliness: The speaker illustrates two things; the struggle of the lonely spider and the condition of his soul. At the outset, he provides a graphic picture that the spider, all alone on a little promontory, casts out its web-threads in a vast surrounding. He discusses its isolation and detachment from the rest of the world. Later, he compares his soul with that spider. He says that his soul is also struggling to seek spheres that can connect the speaker to the immeasurable world. Unlike spider, his soul is a seeker trying to attach itself to the vacant surroundings.
  • Major Themes in “A Noiseless Patient Spider”: Isolation, struggle, and patience are the major themes of this poem. The poet contrasts the battle of his soul with a tiny spider. He explicitly unfolds the effort of the spider and explores the idea that only those who work tirelessly and hold patience connect themselves to the unfathomable world.

Analysis of Literary Devices in “A Noiseless Patient Spider”

Literary devices are tools that enable the writers to enhance their simple texts with varied meanings. Their appropriate use brings richness and uniqueness in the text. Walt Whitman has also used literary devices in this poem to express the condition of his soul. The analysis of the literary devices used in this poem has been given below.

  1. Apostrophe: An apostrophe is a device used to call somebody or something from a long distance. Here the following verse, “And you O my soul where you stand,” is used for expressing surprise and amazement by calling the soul. A human soul is not in a visible dimension.
  2. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things using their five senses. For example, “I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated”; “Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space” and “A noiseless patient spider.”
  3. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line. For example, the sound of /o/ in “I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated”.
  4. Personification: Personification is to give human qualities to inanimate objects. For example, “And you O my soul where you stand.” Here the soul is compared to a human who can stand or sit down.
  5. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in quick succession. For example, the sound of /f/ in “It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself”.
  6. Hyperbole: Hyperbole is a device used to exaggerate a statement for the sake of emphasis. For example, “Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space.” This verse is hyperbole as it exaggerates the amount of space surrounding the spider.
  7. Oxymoron: It is a figure of speech in which contradictory terms appear in conjunctions. The poet has used the words surrounded and detached, both represent opposite things in the following verse, “Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space.”

Analysis of Poetic Devices in “A Noiseless Patient Spider”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are two stanzas in this poem each comprises of five lines.
  2. Quintet: A quintet is a five-lined stanza in poetry. There are two quintets in this poem.
  3. Free Verse: Free verse is a type of poetry that does not contain patterns of rhyme or meter. This is a free-verse poem with no strict rhyme or meter.

Quotes to be Used

The lines stated below could be used for children as an example to teach the awareness of struggle in life and how to be patient.

“A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.”