Essay Analysis Of Walt Whitman 's Song Of Myself

Essay Analysis Of Walt Whitman 's Song Of Myself

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One of the most popular American poets is Walt Whitman. Whitman’s poetry has become a rallying cry for Americans, asking for individuality, self-approval, and even equality. While this poetry seems to be truly groundbreaking, which it objectively was, Whitman was influenced by the writings of others. While Whitman may not have believed in this connection to previous authors, critics have linked him to Emerson, Poe, and even Carlyle. However, many critics have ignored the connection between Walt Whitman and the English writer William Wordsworth. A major proponent of Romanticism, Wordsworth’s influence can be seen in Whitman 's poetry through a Romantic connection. Despite differences in form, one can see William Wordsworth’s influence on Walt Whitman in Wordsworth’s preface to Lyrical Ballads and Whitman 's “Song of Myself” through their portrayal of the common man and their use of language, which is Romantic in nature.
In these two pieces, commonalities can be seen, including the portrayal of man. Both Wordsworth and Whitman try to exemplify the experiences of the common man doing regular, everyday actions. According to D. J. Moores,
Wordsworth 's near preoccupation with the downtrodden -- beggars, idiots, shepherds, forsaken Indian women, and the like -- is informed by this sense of love and sympathy. He is attuned to humanity...He thus ‘poses himself,’ as Lance Massey has observed, ‘as the archetypal ‘“medicine man”’... Not coincidentally, Whitman is likewise the medicine man -- the shaman, as George Hutchinson calls him, whose purpose in a society is to heal.(“Wedded” 163-164).
Both Whitman and Wordsworth take on the idea that they are “medicine men” who are using their writing to show love and sympathy to the common, lower ...


... middle of paper ...


...nce points in a different direction.
All in all, Whitman’s “Song of Myself” and Wordsworth’s preface to Lyrical Ballads show the influence of Wordsworth’s ideas on Whitman through the use of the common experience and the language they utilized, even if their forms were slightly different. Wordsworth’s Romantic ideals are heavily integrated into Whitman’s poetry, especially in “Song of Myself.” Through this, the reader can better understand the roots of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and where certain aspects of his poetry come from. Even in their differences, Whitman shows a great deal of borrowing from many of the ideas that William Wordsworth advocated for, like organic form. While they are not a hive mind, the influence of William Wordsworth on Walt Whitman is explicit, and it gives a greater background for the Romanticism that is held within the poetry of Walt Whitman.

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