Analysis Of Herman Melville's Shiloh '

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Herman Melville’s “Shiloh” depicts one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War. The Battle of Shiloh took place from April 6th-7th, 1862 in Tennessee where a combined 23,000 casualties occurred. Melville was a strong supporter of the Union, but masked his political sympathies in the poem to show how war, at its core, is senseless. One line that stands out is in parenthesis: “(What like a bullet can undeceive!)” (16). Melville raises the question as to why brothers fought and killed each other when in the end, death put all differences aside and returned everyone to equality? Melville paints a picture of this tragedy using various images and a sorrowful, almost angry tone. “Shiloh” is a short, nineteen line poem written in free…show more content…
In this old fashioned church, the reader can visualize the doctors in the building tending to the wounded soldiers. Many of these men did not receive the proper treatment and bled out slowly in the church, with their moans filling the air inside. We tend to think of a church as a safe haven, a place where all of our worries can be eased. These men, young and old, learned about the meaning of brotherhood and living in harmony through the gospel of the church. During the Civil War; however, the heat of battle tore this bond apart. Instead, soldiers faced death and agony in this rustic building, with their disputes to be reconciled only in their graves. Perhaps it is not ironic at all. The speaker could be describing how the men found solace by taking their last breath in a place of worship and warmth; a place where they could pray to whatever god they believed in and know that they will be well met in the…show more content…
The log church is depicted as simple, not eloquent. The swallows fly their patterns in the sky stopping for no man or battle. The rain showers nourished the parched men as they lay dying, barely clinging on to life. Melville did this in order to describe how war is in human nature, just like many other things. He also shows how nature can cure and comfort with its powers. The log church was built by the hands of brothers for a common cause, just like men tried to unite the states for a common good. The simple church was a place of worship and religion, where differences could be put aside and people could seek salvation. Naturally, men would have differences and the only way to solve them after peaceful means prove unsuccessful is through war. Now, this holy place is filled with the lingering tones of death and decay. The images of swallows begin and end the poem showing how the silence of death lingers throughout the action. Time feels extremely slow for those in pain, but does not stop. The only people who find time to halt and remain endless are the dead who are now at ease. Finally, the rain showers soothe those in pain. When one thinks of April rain showers, happiness and peace come to mind. The wounded men on the battlefield were “Solaced” (6) by these showers which eased their

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