Individualism In Walt Whitman's Leaves Of Grass

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Individualism is important. This statement is made clear in Walt Whitman’s book, Leaves of Grass, published in 1855. Leaves of Grass is a poetry collection composed in the nineteenth-century, during the Westward Expansion. Contrary to a popular poetic style in that period, Whitman wrote in free-verse, meaning there was little to no rhyming or tempo. Individualism is a theme that sets the tone of Whitman’s poems. Whitman uses the literary devices of repetition, asyndeton, imagery, and conflict to create the idea of individualism to set the tone.

The repetition present in Whitman’s works contributes significantly to the theme of his poems. Repetition can be used to emphasize differences; moreover, it can stress the individuality of every
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“O Me! O Life!” centers it's ideas around an image of hopelessness and despair in the people; allowing the imagery to enable the reader to visualize the “endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,”(line 2). The author uses this imagery to show that these people are not smart individuals. Uniqueness is shown through imagery in Whitman’s poem, “I Hear America Singing.” Each worker is “singing” what is theirs while they work, “Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong, /The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam, /The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work, /The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck, /The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,” each doing a unique thing that the reader can create an image to visualize. The second most common form of imagery is auditory, helping the reader create a sound that they can connect with the writing. In the last four lines of “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” there is a specific mentioning of a trumpet sounding while on the walk. “Till with sound of trumpet, /Far, far off the day-break call—hark! how loud and clear I hear it wind;/Swift! to the head of the army!—swift! spring to your places, Pioneers! O pioneers.”(Lines 101-104). This mentioning helps readers connect to what the author is writing about and how the individuals in the poem might feel. Imagery helps the reader follow Whitman’s structure; therefore, understand the conflicts that he has included in his
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