Every decision concerning the ship and the crew is made by the captain; he has great responsibility for his people. By carrying the title ‘captain’, he agrees to attend to all duties as leader of the ship. Part of the captain’s job is to give orders and to demand that they will be followed accordingly; his main concern is the safety of his crew. Sometimes, the crew doesn’t seem to agree with the rules and limitations that were made by the captain, and that makes it difficult to obey them. These rules can create fear and distance between the captain and his people.
But, eventually, the crew will realize that the captain had made those rules for their own good. Once they will come to this realization, they will start to respect and to trust their captain completely. They will feel safe when he is around them; they will start looking at him as their anchor. A father is much like a captain, yet, different. A father, like the captain, takes his kids on a journey, the journey of life. He is responsible for their safety and well being through out the journey. In order for this journey to be a successful one, the father has to give rules and to create limitations for his kids.
Growing up, the kids understand that every rule and every limitation that was made by their father was for their own good. They start to respect and trust their father; they seek advice from him and they view him as their source of comfort. A father differs from a captain. How so? A father loves his kids. Every decision or rule that he makes is enveloped with warmth and love. The distance that is created between the captain and his crew due to the rules and limits will not be as strong when it comes to a father and his kids; his eternal love for them will allow him to break the rules sometimes.
The kids’ love for their father will allow them to get closer to him; closeness that can never exist between a captain and his crew. Whitman sees Lincoln as the captain of the ship but also as the father of the citizens. To him, Lincoln was a unique leader; he had the qualities of a captain and the qualities of a father. Lincoln was able to set the necessary rules and restrictions in order to overcome the challenges arose by the civil war. He knew how to lead the country in the right direction towards victory. But, he was also a father.
Every one of his acts and decisions were enveloped with true love towards his citizens. I have recently watched the movie “Dead Poet society”. The movie talks about an English teacher who comes to teach a group of privileged students. Through out the movie, the students refer to their new teacher as their captain. They feel for their teacher what Whitman felt for Lincoln. They view the teacher as the person who guides them through the learning process of poetry, but they also, like Whitman, feel that every act or step that was made by the teacher is enveloped with love for his beloved students.
Whitman refers to Lincoln as a father only in the second and third paragraphs but not in the first one. The first paragraph talks about the victory, the steadiness and the happiness of the country and its citizens. Whitman doesn’t see Lincoln in his weak moments; he sees him as a captain, a strong figure that every one admires. The other two paragraphs talk about the death of the strong man, the captain. In these moments, Whitman feels close to him, he cares for him like a son cares for his dying father; he wants to help him.