Literary Devices used in Walt Whitman´s Poem Song of Myself
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Explication Through a multitude of literary devices and techniques, Walt Whitman's poem, "Song of Myself," is one of his most famous contributions to American literature. He uses simile and metaphor, paradox, rhythm, and free verse style, to convey his struggle between the relation of the body and soul, the physical and the spiritual being. He continues to disobey all social restrictions of the romantic time period. From the beginning, Whitman begins by stating, "What I shall assume, you shall assume, for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you," proposing that the reader listen to him, for he possesses all of the answers to life. The setting is somewhat naturalistic, and offers an image of the speaker, relaxing, possibly sprawled out across a blanket, philosophizing about life, while in the middle of a peaceful meadow. As the poem later shifts in tone, and setting, Whitman starts to think about the answers to life he has come up with, based upon the past, and decides that the reader should hear him out, one final time, as his ideas have changed. This brings us to #44 of "Song of Myself." In section #44 of, "Song of Myself," Whitman's first stanza begins: "It's time to explain myself…let us stand up. What is known I strip away…I launch all men and women forward with me into the unknown. The clock indicates the moment…but what does eternity indicate? Eternity lies in bottomless reservoirs…its buckets are rising forever and ever, they pour and they pour and they exhale away." Whitman is simply stating that he wants to tell the purpose of his madness. The madness that Whitman expresses is that of power and self-confidence. Whitman has written this based upon his experiences in life. Through these experiences, he has grown to know certain things about life and tries to pass them down to the reader. Throughout the beginning of the poem, Whitman takes the reader by the hand and demands that he follows Whitman and his ideas, because based on his own life Whitman holds the answers to the reader's questions. But now, he asks the reader to erase everything that he has previously said - forget the past. Why don't we try something new? We have to focus on the present, not on the past, but also to focus on what we are going to experience in the future, what can we expect?