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Unguarded Gates vs. A Broadway Pageant - Essay Example

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While Whitman continues to influence and contextualize contemporary American poetry, the popularity and reference to Aldrich have greatly diminished. One can see why this disparity…
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Unguarded Gates vs. A Broadway Pageant
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Unguarded Gates vs. A Broadway Pageant

Download file to see previous pages... His enthusiasm overshoots his subjects, as Whitman makes references to different races, ethnicities and cultures of the world with poetic grace. This is in sharp contrast with Thomas Aldrichs poem, titled Unguarded Gates, which takes on hues of Xenophobia and White Supremecist attitude. In fact, the poem is so laced with hostility and fear toward other races and cultures that it would shock anyone reading today.
It should be noted that not all of Aldrichs poems were like this, which explains why he was considered an important poet during his lifetime. But given that the poem was written toward the end of the nineteenth century and that Aldrich could not have foreseen the occurrence of the two World Wars, his attitude toward other peoples of the world, is more a product of ignorance than one of malice. Even Whitmans poem bears marks of cultural ignorance, a his references to the other exotic parts of the world is clichéd and stereotypical. In A Broadway Pageant, the reader can clearly see that Whitmans view of the Orient and beyond is no more than that acquired through postcard pictures and popular trivia. But Whitmans ignorance in this regard does not mitigate against the spirit of the poem, which is one of respect and regard for the cultural outsiders. At the time of Whitmans writing of the poem (circa 1860) the trans-pacific relations between the Orient and the New World was in its infancy. It would see its peak in the coming decades, before meeting the nadir during the 1940s, when Japan and the United States were are war. But, despite this temporary setback, it is a testament to the spirit of human solidarity that the two countries have maintained amicable economic relations ever since. This is consistent with the basic theme of A Broadway Pageant.
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