Walt Whitman Biography

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Wonderful Causing Tears The ability to pinpoint the birth or beginning of the poet lifestyle is rare. It is rare for the observer as it is for the writer. The Walt Whitman poem “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking” is looked at by most as just that. It is a documentation, of sorts, of his own paradigm shift. The realities of the world have therein matured his conceptual frameworks. In line 147 we read “Now in a moment I know what I am for, I awake.” This awakening is at the same time a death. The naiveté of the speaker (I will assume Whitman) is destroyed. Through his summer long observation, the truths of life are born, or at least reinforced, in him. The obvious elements are birth and death, which are both caused by another instance of the latter (death of the “she-bird”). Nature’s role is omnipresent. Not only in the sense of it giving a constant livable environment, but also almost deified in the personification of its will and actions. The birth of vision in the speaker is due not only to the observation of death, as that is just a single occurrence, but to the observation of the role of nature in all of its mysterious cycles. Nature is not the sole source of dramatic symbolism in the piece. The actions of the characters themselves reflect the piece’s definite goals. Though these “characters” set the scene and take center stage at different points, it must be remembered that what occurs is removed from the reader by two filters. The first is the filter of interpretation by the boy who is witnessing the events, it is then filtered through the memory of the boy become both man and poet. The boy has thus created a profound story of want and injustice through translation of natural occurrence (sounds and sea), and the man-poet has created a path though which all could trace the progression of these messages into the poet’s insight. Due to this fact, the central character in this piece is the boy, foreshadowing what he is to become. Attention is not focused on the birds and sea themselves, but on the boy-man’s growing understanding brought on by them. They are then factors in the equation of nature and speaker. 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... ... middle of paper ... ... like the bird nor like my arous’d child’s heart”. Which I do not forget, But fuse the song of my dusky demon and brother That he sang at me in the moonlight on Paumanok’s gray beach, With the thousand responsive songs at random, My own songs awaked from the hour And with them the key, the word up from the waves, The bird is a demon in that he has forced the speaker to change, and any drastic life shaking change results in feelings of uncertainty and discomfort, we must also note the term “brother” is applied. The end results of this fusion are, in fact, the newborn or newfound spirit. His learning is complete; whether it was noticed initially or after further maturing isn’t evident. What is evident is the fact that through the speaker’s observation of the combined elements of time (maturing) and space (the surroundings) he transcends all dimensional plains to truly understand nature. The Sea against the shore is the “cradle endlessly rocking”, also the death of innocence. Him realizing the birth of poet is his assent past this truth (“From”). Life and death are not the bookends to our existence, but points in an endless cycle. To this death there is a birth, the birth of spirit.
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