Poetic Tools Describe Life in Walt Whitman's Song of Myself Essay

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Poetic Tools Describe Life in Walt Whitman's Song of Myself

Walt Whitman is commonly known as the bard of America, a poet who wrote about the common man of the country as had never been done before. He was able to do so because he was a common man, as can be seen in lines such as "This is the city and I am one of the citizens." Within his poetry he often used certain tools of the typical epic tale, borrowed from such tales as The Iliad, and The Odyssey. All of these tools can be seen within the lines of his lengthy poem of fifty-two sections "Song of Myself." The first of these tools include an invocation of the muse, as can be seen in the lines "I loafe and invite my soul," which appears to be an invocation of a muse, or his own …show more content…

Perhaps this is Whitman's own way of saying to his audience "pay attention, for although I am speaking of myself I speak for you too, so this is important, and applies to your life as well." Continuing on he claims to "strip away" what is known, and "launch all men and women forward with me into the unknown." This statement serves as if to say to the audience "forget what you know, and what you have been taught. I have something new and important to tell you, so open your mind and use your imagination." Whitman then describes the difference between a clock and eternity. For a clock can only count a moment, it has a very short span; however, it in no way can begin to encompass eternity for eternity is immeasurable. Using images of an endless stream of buckets rising from a reservoir continually providing us with time Whitman paints a picture of eternity, making it a tangible rather than intangible thing. He does what the clock is not able to do. While the clock is incapable of measuring eternity, he gives you an easy image to associate with eternity, making one able to grasp the concept of how expansive eternity really is. Continuing with the idea of the expansiveness of eternity Whitman gives examples of the "trillions of winters

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