Irony: Words that express the opposite of the literal meaning, usually done for humorous effect.

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Extended Metaphors in Walt Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!”
Extended Metaphors in Walt Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!”

“O Captain! My Captain!” is one of Walt Whitman’s most famous poems. Whitman not only expresses his own grief over the loss of Abraham Lincoln, but also represents the somber feelings of many Americans during a time when they otherwise would have been celebrating the Union’s Civil War victory. Whitman uses a number of extended metaphors – most notably comparing Lincoln to the captain of a ship – to speak for the nation. Using Template Task 2, 8th grade students determine if Whitman was justified in his comparisons.

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