Walt Whitman's Song of Myself
This paper deals with Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" in relation to Julia Kristeva's theories of abjection--my paper does not point to abjection in the text, but rather the significance of the abscence of abjection. This abscence, looming and revolting, arises from Whitman's attemt to refigure a conception of sublimity which delimits the material which can trigger the sublime moment. Whitman's democracy of the sublime is inclusive of those figures on the American landscape, their lives and voices, which are functionalized into his world. This paper employs the theories of George Lukacs and Julia Kristeva allow the unearthing of the archeological layers of Whitman's text.
The tone or mood of the poem is delivered in the first stanza of the poem. He delves directly into birth and death, a sure sign that this poem will be no light reading. However, he uses a question to set the stage of the poem when he says, "Has anyone supposed it lucky to be born?" Questions are effective attention grabbers, but even more effective is Whitman's answer to the question. He produces an unorthodox response to the question, posing the answer that it is just as lucky to die. By giving such an odd answer to the question, he sets the stage for the rest of the poem presenting ideas not necessarily considered orthodox. The whole poem revolves around the idea that things must constantly be looked at from other viewpoints, and this initial stanza serves to illustrate this point well.
A cold stare, and a hand on his hip, is how Walt Whitman introduced himself to his readers in 1855. The style of Whitman’s frontispiece was uncommon for its time, a man with a loose collar and a worn hat would have been found more commonly on a farm than adorning a literary scholar in the mid-nineteenth century. Whitman wanted to show that he was no better than anyone who would read his poetry. Whitman conveyed himself to his audience by showing himself as an everyday workingman; his wrinkled shirt shows that he is use to working hard for everything that he has. The stare he gives back to his audience looks as if he is examining the reader the same way they may be examining him or his work.
The seemingly autobiographical nature of this piece instantly calls for observation. The speaker is an older Whitman, advanced and experienced. The poem is a remembrance of his childhood from afar. This gives Whitman the opportunity to distance him...
Whitman demonstrates the persuasive, powerful interest in rationalism that overwhelms society. The anaphora of "when" used for four consecutive lines in the first stanza stresses the monotony of this philosophy. In a more subtle sense, it suggests the ubiquitous multitudes that follow it. "Learn'd" and "applause in the lecture room" describe the lecturer's positive reputation and approval from the audience. "Ranged in columns before" the narrator, the information "shown", and "sitting...where
In addition, the religious context throughout the poem is underscored by diction with emphasized self-determined faith. The phrases “I advance from the people in their own spirit,” “here is what sings unrestricted faith,” and “I make the poem of evil also” suggest that religion, or more accurately spirituality, is defined by personal actions, both good and evil. By not explicitly discussing religion, Whitman deems faith a personal choice--but spirituality a necessity. Togethe...
The poem is delightfully accessible in its directness, yet is balanced with the rich similes in the last two stanzas. The images of the bird and the ocean serve as illustrations of the speaker’s main point, placed in the middle of the poem, in the second stanza: “He / sees deep and is glad, who / accedes to mortality…“ (10-12). This is the keystone of the poem, that which blends the first stanza with the last. Even the math seems to work out. There are three stanzas, the first being different in approach than the third, and the second stanza has half of each technique—three stanzas divided by two approaches, equals one and a half, the length given to question/directness and imagery/simile. ...
The Beauty of Walt Whitman's When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer
My father is an amateur astronomer. It is his passion, after he comes home from work at the office, to wait outside in the fields surrounding our house with his 10" LX200 F6.3 telescope until all hours of the morning, waiting for the perfect shot of galaxies like NGC 7479 or M16. The next evening at dinner, despite being awake for over thirty hours, he speaks non-stop about how he finally got the perfect shot after five hours of painstaking positioning, how the galaxy, the nebula, the distant moon or dying star existed, or how it was turning back into scattered atoms leaving only a purplish ring of dust to prove it was ever there. A few weeks ago, an article in the local newspaper was written about him, promoting his first lecture on astronomy which was to take place in the public library.
Within the first paragraph, Whitman addresses America’s need to move on and learning from its pass, but never forgetting it, so that the nation can become stronger. The quote, “The corpse is slow borne from the eating and sleeping rooms of the house,”means that old habits die hard and it is okay for beauty to be viewed
In this photographic print by Mathew Brady, Walt Whitman, is left exposed and vulnerable. The simple nature of the photograph, a casual pin-stripe shirt juxtaposed against a stark black background, evokes an informality, that is irregular of Brady’s celebrity portraits. The lack of grandeur, allows all focus to lie on Whitman, enabling the onlooker to have a more intimate view of the man. The photograph of Whitman, is posed from head to shoulders, like many other portrait photographs, once again emphasizing simplicity of the photograph. Whitman’s face, and gaze are slightly angled to the left, suggesting an inquisitive or reflective nature of the photograph. Although well-manicured, Whitman’s balding head, full grown beard, and haunting eyes,