The glamorization of American opportunity created a great sense of nationalism which encouraged many to embrace ideas like manifest destiny. Walt Whitman was a poet living in the nineteenth century who wrote many poems which figuratively painted a picture portraying enrichment and opportunity in America, and the greater opportunity which could be achieved through traveling west. One compilation of poems entitled Leaves of Grass, was quite influential to those living in America and abroad, catching the eye of many opportunists seeking a better future for themselves. While the stories may be different, a common theme of American nationality exists within the poetry of Walter Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.
Walt Whitman’s, “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” tells of the people traveling westward in America. The poem suggests that regardless of any danger the ambitious and young should move westward for the sake of enriching American lives with all the opportunity the west has to offer. The past life one lived in a European country can now be learned from or forgotten about as America now offers a much more enriching and free existence. Now pioneers could move on, no longer bound by social class and create their own future. With weapons in hand the pioneers would need to press on for the sake of all who had given their lives in the past, and all for the sake of ensuring their future. All who move west share a sense of unity regardless of status or sex. All pioneers regardless of being northern or southern statesmen, all share the common goal of moving westward for the sake of living enriched lives, and that is indeed worth fighting and dying for.
Whitman’s “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” is a twenty-six stan...
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...ee is fairly melancholic, but does do a fine job to show to what extent of nationality the soldier has, and what he’d do for that to live on in future generations.
Overall it would seem that Whitman’s poems greatly reflected the attitudes of his time. If they did not then Whitman’s poetry would not have been quite as influential as it has been. America for Whitman seemed to be united by the individual’s common sense of nationalism. Walt Whitman seemed to be very optimistic for the future of America it seems, even though he acknowledged the hardships of his time. It’s no wonder why Walt Whitman is considered to be such an important poet of his time. His depictions of nationalism, and clear belief in manifest destiny still remain relevant to this day. Arguably the American nationality, and drive for freedom, is still what sets Americans apart from other nations today.
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