Whitman's Leaves of Grass: Democratic Themes Essay

Whitman's Leaves of Grass: Democratic Themes Essay

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Leaves of Grass:  Democratic Themes       


When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer I Hear America Singing       In his Preface to Leaves of Grass, Whitman states, “The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem”.  Whitman was the ultimate Transcendentalist/ Romantic.  He united democratic themes and subject matter with free verse form.  In Leaves of Grass, Whitman celebrates unity of all life and people.  He embraces diversity of geography, culture, work, sexuality, and beliefs.  Whitman’s impact solidifies American dreams of independence, freedom, and fulfillment, and transforms them for larger spiritual meaning.  Whitman values hard work and being humble and non-egotistical.  His ideals are things such as good health, soul, and the love of nature.

            Whitman expresses his celebration of working class democracy through the “varied carols” of men and women who take pride in their occupations in the poem “I Hear America Singing”.  For example, he writes:

                         I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,

                        Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and



... middle of paper ...

... United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem,” I believe he meant that the diversity of geography, culture, beliefs and work all combine to create a wonderful country.  Whitman’s subject matter and style tie together to reflect his values of a working class democracy, humbleness and the enjoyment of life.  Whitman’s impact has solidified American dreams (of independence, freedom, and fulfillment) and transcends, transforms them for a larger spiritual meaning.






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