Contrary to most poets during the nineteenth century, Whitman’s writings do not conform to the conventions of society. His works are written for all walks of life to read in a very accessible manner. In the excerpts from “Song of Myself”, Walt Whitman suggests that he is equivalent in magnitude to the entire American population through shifting points of view to empathize with others and universalizing the grass through an extended metaphor.
Whitman creates a sense of democracy where everyone is equal to each other by relating to diverse perspectives and demographics. In Walt Whitman’s ideal world, there is no prejudice based on race, gender, or religion. The “Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, [and] Cuff” are all the same to him and receive the same amount of respect; there are no boundaries between white and black or upper and lower class. The alliteration of the ‘c’ and ‘k’ consonants underscores the idea of unification among the sundry of people onto the same level. Similarly, the poet establishes likeness between the juvenile and the elderly. In the seventh stanza of the sixth section Whitman writes of those who died in childhood and subsequently juxtaposes it with “here you are the mothers’ laps”. This parallelism between both a child and his mother buried in the ground illustrates that in the end, regardless of age, we will all end up in the soil. Furthermore, Whitman recognizes the need for man and woman to be equal. In the vignette of the twenty-eight men, he empathizes with the perspective with the one woman when he writes, “Where are you off to, lady? for I see you.” Whitman dispenses his characterization into the woman as she timidly hides from the men; this highlights the idea that Whitman is em...
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...e soil “to grow from the grass [he] loves”. In this phrase, Whitman conveys that he just like everyone in the United States, and has a spiritual connection with the Earth.
Whitman redefines the boundaries between him and the world, by arguing that he contains every person and every thing. Insight from diverse points of view conveys Whitman’s versatility and ability to relate to the entire American population. Moreover, the comparison of the grass exemplifies the degree to which Whitman can relate with the people. Whitman presents this notion of a poet being commensurate to the population of the United States via other rhetorical techniques including long unifying list and metonymy of the self throughout the poem. Whitman is a representative of America and the New World; his words are an archetype for a place that contains old and new ideas and where all are invited.
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