Walt Whitman Essay

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“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you. You must travel it by yourself. It is not far. It is within reach. Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know. Perhaps it is everywhere” (Whitman 33) is Walt Whitman’s first and one of his most popular works, Leaves of Grass. It was and still is very inspirational to many people including Ralph Waldo and many others after him. He had a major influence on modern free verse. Following a hard childhood in and around New York, Walter Whitman was well known and received in his time for Leaves of Grass which did not use the universal theme, which he became known for in the eighteenth century as well as his way of seeing the world in a view that very few could comprehend in his time. Walt Whitman was born to Louisa and Walter Whitman in Long Island, New York, May 31, 1819. He was the second son from a household of nine. He was named after his father who was a farmer and Carpenter. He was born just after the end of the American Revolution. When he was four, his family and he moved to Brooklyn where he went to school until the age of eleven. He left to help support the family and got a full-time job. Whitman looked back on his childhood as generally restless and unhappy, given his families difficult economic status. He found a job as an office boy for two lawyers and later an apprentice as a printer for a local newspaper, “Patriot”. There he learned many useful things like how to use the printing press and typesetting. In 1833, his family moved back to Long Island and there he continued to work for several newspapers. In 1836, at the age of 17, he began his career as teacher but stopped when he turned to journalism as a full-time career. He founded a weekly new... ... middle of paper ... ... Whitman regarding Leaves of Grass, he said “the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed” (Barrett 534). Walt Whitman’s hard childhood influenced his work greatly, he was an uneducated man but he managed to become one of the most known poets. Whitman changed poetry through his work and is now often called the father of free verse. Especially through Leaves of Grass he expressed his feelings and sexuality to world and was proud of it. He had a different view at life, his hard childhood, and his sexuality that almost no one understood made him introduce a new universal theme to the world. Almost all critics agree that Walt Whitman was one of the most influential and innovative poet. Karl Shapiro says it best, “The movement of his verses is the sweeping movement of great currents of living people with general government and state”.

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