Both Langston Hughes and Walt Whitman are regarded as some of the finest poets in a long list of excellent American poets. Hughes, a poet during the Harlem Renaissance era of American poetry, often wrote of the struggles of African Americans in his poetry. A common theme of Harlem Renaissance poetry was discussing the struggles and advancements of African Americans in terms of social justice. Walt Whitman wrote his poetry in the period of transition from transcendentalism and realism. His works can be seen to incorporate elements of both styles. Walt Whitman was also a humanist, and this can also be readily seen in his many works. Both Langston Hughes’ “Let America Be America Again” and Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” tackle the idea of oneself within a larger collective group. However, Hughes speaks from the African American viewpoint at the time. Hughes relies on more specific imagery, while Whitman incorporates imagery that is more generalized. Each of the authors uses imagery in similar yet individually effective ways, covers a similar theme with respective viewpoints, and uses different tones to cover how an individual effectively fits into a collective.
In “Song of Myself” Whitman attempts to speak on behalf of the entire American population. He tries to pull the reader into a world of many possibilities. Whitman makes a
One of the most disturbing things in today’s culture is a loss of originality and nationality. People are no longer proud to be Americans and instead of pushing for new heights people follow in the footsteps of others. People today need heir sense of self back and need to start taking pride in what they do and where they’re from. In “One Song, America, Before I Go” by Walt Whitman and “I Too” by Langston Hughes, the speakers celebrated the concepts of individuality, originality, and nationality.
“Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” is Walt Whitman’s way of personifying the everyday experiences of living in society; specifically, Whitman’s firsthand account of his routine crossing on the Brooklyn Ferry. To achieve this is his poem Whitman utilizes the use of repetition to emphasize specific points throughout the works. This is particularly evident in stanza six, here Whitman begins each statement with the phrase “I too”; in doing so Whitman exploits the device of repetition to consolidate the striking commonalities each individual share. By relating to such familiar commonalities such as “I too walk’d the streets of Manhattan, and bathed in its waters.”, the author brings the reader onto level ground and utilizes the familiar experiences of common
Whitman wrote broad stanzas and focused on the whole of America as his inspiration. His lines covered a wide range of topics and generated multiple points of view for the reader. He called his life’s work “Leaves of Grass”; stressing the
Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" is a vision of the American spirit, a vision of Whitman himself. It is his cry for democracy, giving each of us a voice through his poetry. Each of us has a voice and desires, and this is Whitman's representation of our voices, the voice of America. America, the great melting pot, was founded for freedom and democracy, and this poem is his way of re-instilling these lost American ideals. In this passage from "Song of Myself" Whitman speaks through his fellow man and speaks for his fellow man when his voice is not socially acceptable to be heard.
Walt Whitman and Elizabeth Bishop are two of the most highly acclaimed American poets of all time, exploring themes, scenes and emotions that deeply resonate with psyche of the American public. Whitman and Bishop explore the relationship between themselves and their audience by writing about the liminal space between individual and community. As renowned poetic voices for their country, the two are individuals speaking for the multitude. They are therefore fascinated with their apparent inability to determine what defines an individual within humanity, and it becomes clear through their writing that they are at times frightened
There is nothing more profound than the thoughts that come from introspection of oneself. Walt Whitman exemplifies the value of this deep thought in his poems “A Noiseless Patient Spider,” and “Facing West from California’s Shores.” In these poems Whitman examines the meaning of life, both in himself and in relation to his country. “Facing West from California’s Shores” discusses the meaning behind westward expansion and Manifest Destiny, while “A Noiseless Patient Spider” entails Whitman’s personal search for meaning in everyday life. The content of these poems, matched by the effect of free verse, leave the reader with an enlightened impression of their sense of self.
After studying American author, Walt Whitman, it is clear that he has had a long lasting impact on society and the lives of authors and artists who came after him. Through works like Democratic Vistas and Song of Myself, Whitman gave American society tools to promote creative expression and the essence of democracy. However, Whitman’s methods had to be adopted over time to touch/bring attention to different social issues. Two authors who were able to branch off of Whitman’s works and ideas were Isadora Duncan and James Baldwin. By analyzing these two important characters of history, we will be able explore two different social issues in two different eras and how Duncan and Baldwin refined Whitman’s approach in order to make a statement in society. It’s significant to identify the importance of these artists because this process is still relevant in today’s society, adapting from Whitman in order to get points across and make a difference.
The dominant themes that are more pervasive in Whitman’s poetry are democracy, life/death cycles, individualism, and nature. These themes play major roles in some of his more notable poems such as “Songs of Myself” or “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.” He used democracy as a theme to bring society together, and unite everyone based on their general beliefs. He depicted life and death cycles to merge society together on a spiritual level. Despite his eagerness to unite society he also embraced individualism, and is also a persistent theme in most of his poetry. Nature was an important concept that Whitman used to convince people who there were more important things to life than class structure. He used nature connect us all, and encourage people to
American Poetry comes in many different shapes and forms. There is a plethora of American authors that use various writing techniques to transform their ideas into works of art. Walter “Walt” Whitman is one of the most famous authors that used a variety of styles in many of his poems. Many of his works of art affected the population and have influenced the country. He has created multiple poems that have become popular over the years and will be remembered for years to come. Walt Whitman comes from an impecunious family that has a tremendous amount of love for their home country, America. His father took him out of school when he was young to help with the household funds. As he grew older, Whitman was in and out of different occupations and he was always moving businesses. He started out as a teacher, but most of his jobs involved journalism, writing, and editing. With his experiences growing up and in jobs, he was able to take the knowledge he gained and apply it to his writing. Journalism allowed writing to be one of his major skills, and using a multitude of writing techniques became a big part of his work. One of his most well known works of poetry is Leaves of Grass, a collection of poems, originally published in 1855. Although he could not afford to make many copies, he still earned success as he made an impact on the people around him. The style of the poems in that book fell away from traditional, organized poetry. It was Whitman’s first popular piece of literature that expressed his transcendentalist view of the world. As the book became more popular, there were many updated editions. The 1891 edition contains a favored poem named “A Noiseless Patient Spider.” This short poem is a valid example of the different styles Whitman uses throughout his literature. Whitman is able to get across the themes of this poem while using repetition and other freestyle writing techniques. Walt Whitman uses the writing style of repetition to convey the themes of separateness and the desire for connection and eternal life in his poem "A Noiseless Patient Spider."
On this verse, we can see how Whitman tries to connect to mind, body, spirit and nature. In “Song of Myself” Whitman attempted to change the meaning of American poetry. I described identity issues that pertain to him, but that the audience was able to identify with. Whitman, opened the door to
If one listens closely, they can hear America’s song. The words, like thunder, comprise the groans of the slave, the cheers of the free, and the unmistakable sounds of the brave. The music rings out as clear as day; it is composed by the growing children and the dying men. Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes captured the essence of these songs in their respective works, “I Hear America Singing” and “I, Too, Sing America.” The first describes the melodies of a working nation, the “the wood-cutter’s song” and the “delicious singing of the mother” (Whitman 7-8). The quiet musings of a young African American make up the latter; it is a hymn of hushed hope for tomorrow. Although the two poems stand alone, both Whitman’s and Hughes's works powerfully capture the song of America through the sense of pride found in each piece, the uses of different literary elements, and their individual views of the nation.
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. Through the use of specific symbolisms, Whitman, as the narrator, explicates his views while remaining under the façade of explaining grass to the child. The views Whitman conveys remain indeterminate and
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.