A biography of John Greenleaf Whittier and an analyzation of his writing styles and one Poem in Particular, "Telling the Bees"

Essay by GotRevenge4High School, 11th grade May 2005

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"It is no use trying to sum people up. One must follow hints, not exactly what is said, nor yet entirely what is done." To grasp a hold one someone's true being cannot be done through what they have said, or what they have done, but instead, a healthy combination of both. John Greenleaf Whittier, a highly acclaimed icon in nineteenth century American Literature, and his poem "Telling the Bees," can be used to analyze his styles of poetry and even what kind of person he really was.

John Greenleaf Whittier was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He was born to a Quaker family, and received little formal education, yet still devoted himself to study and reading. When he was fourteen, he was inspired by Robert Burns's poetry, and because of this, he decided to write his own poetry. His first poems, published in the Newburyport Free Press year of 1826, were edited by William Lloyd Garrison, an abolitionist, who became his lifelong friend.

In the years from 1828 to 1832, Whittier edited and contributed stories, sketches, and poems to various newspapers. His first two published works, Legends of New England and the poem "Moll Pitcher," published in 1831-32, warmly portrayed everyday life in his rural background.

As he continued to grow into a skilled poet, he began to support the movement towards Abolition. Whittier is to often depict as a gentle hoary-headed Quaker. For this reason, the fiery politician within him is often forgotten. He declared himself an abolitionist in the pamphlet "Justice and Expediency," published in 1833, and went to the unpopular national antislavery convention. In 1834-35 he sat in the Massachusetts legislature, ran for Congress on the Liberty ticket in 1842, and was a founder of the Republican Party. "He also worked staunchly behind the political scene...



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