In this excerpt of Leaves of Grass, Whitman seeks to develop an archetype of “the credulous man,” whose purpose is to represent the personal spirit that leads one to unrestricted faith. By connecting specific formal features, which range from a first person narrative voice to specific diction related to spirituality, Whitman develops a persona that calls to all audiences, linking them to this “credulous man” in a moderately religious context.
Whitman employs a first person narrative voice throughout the excerpt to connect himself and all around him to this persona of “credulous man.” By starting the stanza out with “I am the credulous man” rather than “I am a credulous man,” he sets a precedent within the poem, and we can see that the phrase is not intended to simply describe himself but to describe men of all qualities, ages and races. He later emphasizes this range of inclusion by calling out to all with the words, “Omnes! Omnes!” We can note, however, that Whitman never uses the pronoun we; yet the simple repetition of the pronoun I in this inclusive context allows each member of the audience to visualize themselves as the speaker, further solidifying the appeal to all audiences.
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...
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...e state of waste is not perpetual, we can find strength and hope for a better future. The ability to convey these messages with such strength along with the ability to powerfully effect his audience and have a tangible effect on the world is what sets T. S. Eliot and The Wasteland apart, and truly gives his poetry the power to change the world.
The poetry of Brian Turner, Charlotte Mew, and T. S. Eliot all turned poetry from the status of great to world re-making; they transformed the poetry of their era to poetry that could be read decades later yet still have a profound impact on its audience. I believe that world making lies in a poet’s ability to take any situation, any speaker, and any context that is personally important to them, and create a poem that deeply affects its audience--one with the ability to completely transcribe emotion from a text to the heart.
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