Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Specimen Days- Female Nurses For Soldiers.

A great deal of the articles contained in specimen days are concerned with Whitman's first hand experiences with conflict. Here he composes a profile of the female nurses involved in the American civil war, celebrating their altruism and compassion. Walt seems deeply invested in the maternal nature of these nurses- on a few occasions aligning the medical care recieved from the soldiers, with the care of a mother for her child. This symbol is particularly arresting considering the intrinsically masculine framework Whitman is addressing. This establishes a somewhat antithetical narrative to the events recorded. The images of man and child are welded together, defamiliarising any preconcieved notions  of heroism or fraternity to the conflict, rather a bathetic picture of men abased to a state of infancy.

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