miércoles, 13 de febrero de 2013


As I mentioned in my classes a couple of weeks ago one of the films running for the Oscars this year is Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, with Daniel Day Lewis starring as President Abraham Lincoln. Why would the director of such spectacultar films as E.T. , Jurassic Park or Indiana Jones: Riders of the Lost Ark have made such a dark, austere film as Lincoln?
I think it is because Lincoln is an American hero.  But, unlike other books and films about him, in Spielberg's movie  he is  a "normal hero," not a Superman. He is a man with his weaknesses and doubts, like most leaders are,like and all of us, no matter what position we occupy in life.

The film shows how Lincoln was not even sure what the consequences of abolishing slavery were; and in the film he admits that he does not know enought about black people , but his moral intuition told him that it was morally right and that he had to fight for it, no matter the personal and political costs. You also learn that this self-evident truth "that all men are created equal," proclaimed in The Gettysburg Address" was even worth having to bribe some members of the Democratic party in order to obtain the votes to pass the 13th Amendment.

The popularity of the film has also motivated National Geographic to produce a documentar ("Killing Lincoln")y about Lincoln's death -a scene which is, interestingly, omitted from the film.  L
See the links:

Lincoln trailer

Gettysburg Address YouTube video

Killing Lincolm

Walt Whitman wrote a poem dedicated to Lincoln's death titled When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”:

When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,

And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,

I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,

Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,

And thought of him I love.
You may read the entire poem here:


Did anybody go and see the film "Lincoln"? And what were you reactions to "Leaves of Grass"?
Did you like it? Did you think it was a great bore?

Thank you to those of you who published your responses on Emerson's essays. "Self-Reliance" has clearlu become the favourite of the two. Now keep up with the next entries and do encourage other people to join our blogging community!

7 comentarios:


    Hi everyone!

    I have studied Walt Whitman´s poetry some years ago, when I was doing my last year of Bachillerato but, truth be said, we just named a few aspect of his poems and some of his works. The little extracts of his poetry I remenber reading during that year did not interested me much. At the begining of this new course, when I saw the name of Whitman in the program, I didn´t have much expectations about him and now that I known the poet better... I still don´t have a clear opinion about it!

    On the one hand, I like the way he portays Nature and how he talks about the humble people of the country, how he draws little pictures of different moments of the live of Americans. I find most of his ideas to be extremely interesting and coherent, but, on the other hand, I am still a bit surprised because of the form of his poems. They don´t seem to be vere...(to put it in a way) natural. I mean, it´s poetry but at the same time it´s not! It can be that I am still thinking about poetry in the tradictional-Romantic sense of the word but I still find it hard to consider Whitman´s work as, say, Blake´s.

    Changing now the topic a bit, I wanted to share with you a song from one of my favourites music groups which is called "Song of Myself" (yeah, just like Whitman´s poem!)form Nightwish.
    Nighwish is a Finnish synphonic metal band (or whatever you call their style of playing) with amazing songs and lyrics.
    When I saw that Whitman has a poem named like that song I knew, I searched the lyrics in the internet and read them carefully. A connection can be stablished between both of them, because the song has topics such as individualism and they even name the poet.
    "A catnap in the ghost town of my heart
    She dreams of storytime and the river ghosts
    Of mermaids, of Whitman's and the ride
    Raving harlequins, gigantic toys"

    I strongly recommend you all to listed to the song and to find more about that fantastic band
    (I know that´s not such a melodic song as Lady of Shallot´s, but is still very good)

    PS- Nightwish do also have another song based in one of Coleridge´s poems, "Christabel", which I would also remomend
    PS2- For those who haven´t still realized that:

    1. Thanks for your response! Yes, Nightwish is really cool, I like their songs too and it's interesting that they have these liteary allusions...

  2. Two week ago, I went to the movies to see “Lincoln”. I was quite impressed! Indeed, it's a dark and heavy movie, but it makes you think anyway. I agree with the statement that Lincoln is sort of an American hero, and apparentely not only in the US. There is a town in Argentina, called “Lincoln” in honour of Abraham Lincoln. This town was founded in july 1865, Abraham Lincoln has been assesinated three months ago. The film is really recommendable!

  3. Rocío Merino Gómez24 de febrero de 2013, 18:54

    I have seen "Lincoln". I think that the movie is quite good because Steven Spielberg wants to transmit us how people felt policy in that period. Lincoln was crucial in order to avoid slavery. The most powerful fact of the film is how transmits the feeling of the people who want to eradicate slavery and their union. Walt Withman wrote a poem dedicated to Lincoln's death titled “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d", in which Withman wants to do the same as the film, express how important Lincoln is for him. He even addresses him as O Captain, My Captain.

    My opinion of Leaves of Grass is that Withman achieves to transmit individualism, optimism, faith in the human being and love for life. I like it because he is in favor of equality and democracy. It is also linked with Emerson because Withman is influenced by transcendentalism and its love for nature. Another reference for him is Thoreau and his work Walden. I also like the energy and the freedom that he expresses.

    Rocío Merino Gómez

  4. I have seen the film of Lincoln and I liked it a lot, even if it was a little bit slow. The actor was very good, and he was Lilcoln, completely. The ambiance of war, of the Congress of America was very well made. But to understand the film we have to know how the Congress was made at the time, the democrates and the republicans, and to know how the laws worked in that period as well. They are all the time with the 13th amendment, so we have to be very attentive as the amendment refers to the slavery. But we can feel how people feel, and therefore it is logical to see Lincoln as an American Hero. In the poem of Withman, we can see that he admires him as he says, talking about the death of Lincoln :
    "Here, coffin that slowly passes,
    I give you my sprig of lilac".
    Also, I found curious that the blooming of lilacs is in april, the same month that Lincoln was assassinated.

    Teresa Casanova Urquijo

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  6. The last week, when I presented with my group the novel "The adventures of Huckleberry Finn" I spoke about the situation of the slaves in that time. Due to that, I felt interested in seeing how the film "Lincoln" reflects the slavery issue.

    Among other things I really liked how those who wanted to eradicate slavery have shown their feelings about this issue and how the director presented the character of Lincoln.

    Sonia Abdelhamid Abdelsalam