While reading through the poem Song of Myself by Walt Whitman, what comes to your mind? His deep love for nature? The use of symbolism throughout the poem? Whitman’s questionable homoeroticism that seeps its way throughout the lines? What came to the forefront of mind when reading this poem by Whitman was his deliberately obvious theme of individuality while also maintaining a universal identity. I also think that Whitman throws in a common underlying theme of transcendentalism throughout his poem. At various times throughout Song of Myself, he really seems to show that each individual person has a sort of knowledge about themselves that surpasses their logic and sense but rather, uses their intuition and inner soul. He also shows how each individual person is, in fact, their own person, but that each person is a part of a bigger, universal identity. Whitman’s theme of transcendentalism intertwined with his main theme of individual having both personal and universal identities is what will be explored in this close reading analysis.
Whitman first shows his theme of individuality while having a universal identity in the very opening section of Song of Myself. The poem reads “I celebrate myself / And what I assume you shall assume, / For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”(1-3) Initially, as the readers, we must question who the I is here. I interpreted it to be Walt Whitman himself. He never comes out and says the I is himself but as a reader, this is what can be assumed. As you dig deeper and analyze this passage you can see that Whitman is stating that although he is reveling in his self, he also has an association with all people. He is no better of a person...
... middle of paper ...
... a much bigger picture such as a lawn. Whitman also shows the each of our self-identities are vital to the universal identities when he writes about growing among different races and groups. Again, he is telling us that even though we are our own entire person, we are equal. No man is greater than anyone else. Whitman shows his transcendentalism side here because to come to this conclusion that grass is so much more than just grass, he had to look deeper than his senses or his logical knowledge of grass. Sight, taste, touch, smell, or sound couldn’t have helped him answer the boy’s question. Taking classes on the importance of grass could not have accomplished this either. Whitman shows here that a person must look inside themselves and see what their soul is telling them because at times, it can provide infinitely more wisdom than a scholar or a book ever could.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Whitman's Music as a Means of Expression In his verses, Walt Whitman eradicates divisions of individual entities while simultaneously celebrating their unique characteristics. All components of the universe are united in a metaphysical intercourse, and yet, are assigned very distinct qualities so as to keep their identities intact. Often times, Whitman demonstrates these conceptions through elements of song. “Walt Whitman caroled throughout his verse. For the Bard of Democracy, as America came to call our great poet, music was a central metaphor in his life and work, both as a mindset and as a practical reality.” (Hampson) His musical poetry lyrically encompasses themes of social equality... [tags: Whitman Music Musical Essays]
2421 words (6.9 pages)
- Born in Long Island, New York on May 31, 1819, Walt Whitman was the second of nine children born into a Democratic family (Benka). By eleven, Whitman ended his formal education and sought employment to financially support his family (Benka). He was able to acquire a job as an apprentice on the Long Island Patriot, where he was exposed to the printing trade and was able to discover his own style of writing (Benka). At age fourteen, Whitman was able to expand his knowledge of writing by working under the Patriot’s foreman editor William Hartshorne (Hall).... [tags: civil war, leaves of grass, democratic family]
1128 words (3.2 pages)
- Leaves of Grass is Walt Whitman’s life legacy and at the same time the most praised and condemned book of poetry. Although fearful of social scorn, there are several poems in Leaves of Grass that are more explicit in showing the homoerotic imagery, whereas there are several subtle – should I say “implicit” – images woven into the fabric of the book. It is not strange, then, that he created many different identities in order to remain safe. What Whitman faced in writing his poetry was the difficulty in describing and resonating manly and homosexual love.... [tags: Poetry Analysis ]
1867 words (5.3 pages)
- In his first anthology of poems entitled “Song of Myself”, Walt Whitman reveals some of his views on democracy through the use of symbolism and free verse poetry. His use of symbolism and free verse poetry creates indeterminacy, giving the reader hints rather than answers about the nature of the poem. In the sixth part of “Song of Myself”, a child asks the narrator of the poem, “What is the grass?” (Whitman). Instead of simply giving an answer, the narrator cannot make up his mind, and stumbles on how to explain the grass to the child.... [tags: Song of Myself Essays]
1357 words (3.9 pages)
- In one of the sections from the poem, “Song of Myself” Walt Whitman starts out with a child asking a question, “What is the grass?” Grass is a symbol of life. God, who created both the heavens and the earth also gave birth to life. When Whitman refers to grass as a “handkerchief of the Lord” (7), as a gift. When people look at the grass, they do not think of it as a creation but rather just a plant. Whitman refers to the grass as “a child, the produced babe of vegetation” (11, 12). Here, the grass is a metaphor for the birth of a child.... [tags: Song of Myself Essays]
720 words (2.1 pages)
- Walt Whitman as a Voice for the People "The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as much as he absorbs his country." This brilliant quote from Walt Whitman thus ends his preface to Leaves of Grass, and thereafter begins the poem "Song of Myself." To many, upon their first reading, this was a crude, shocking and distasteful piece of work. but to me...this was a celebration of life. And not just a celebration of his own life, but of every life, of the American life. Walt Whitman is the "voice of the people" and this I believe because, while he did write of things that were not seen as aesthetically beautiful by many...including homosexuality, loneliness, and death.... [tags: Walt Whitman Essays]
1192 words (3.4 pages)
- Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" Walt Whitman's 'Song of Myself' is, on the most basic descriptive level, a really long poem. Whitman is clearly a poet with a lot to say, or at least with a lot of different ways to say it. He meanders from the micro to the macro, from atoms to the whole earth. There are obviously myriad ways to explain what the poem is about, and myriad 'keys' to its true meaning. In what became Section 6 of the final edition (lines 90-121 of the 1855 edition ) Whitman himself addresses this sort of 'meta-question' of interpretation.... [tags: Song of Myself Essays]
1767 words (5 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Song of Myself Essays]
3626 words (10.4 pages)
- American Influences of Walt Whitman In his poems and life, Walt Whitman celebrated the human spirit and the human body. He sang the praises of democracy and marveled at the technological advances of his era. His direct poetic style shocked many of his contemporaries. This style, for which Whitman is famous, is in direct relation to several major American cultural developments. The development of American dictionaries, the growth of baseball, the evolution of Native American policy, and the development of photography all played a part and became essential components of Whitman’s poetry.... [tags: Walt Whitman Writers Poems Poetry Essays]
1460 words (4.2 pages)
- Walt Whitman’s "Children of Adam" Walt Whitman will forever live in the minds of individuals as one of America’s greatest poets. People in America and all over the world continue to read and treasure his poetry. He was an original thinker, contributing new modern styles to poetry. He was unafraid of controversy and uninhibited by what others may think of him. He created his own path in poetry, as he describes himself in an anonymous review of his poetry: "But there exists no book or fragment of a book which can have given the hint to them" (Whitman).... [tags: Walt Whitman Children Adam Essays]
1088 words (3.1 pages)