Reflection In Walt Whitman's O Me, O Life

Decent Essays
Everyone is well versed with the phrase, “united we stand, divided we fall”, or even “two heads are better than one”. When there is unity everything appears to run smoother; people are are happier and tasks are accomplished quicker. Communities thrive when there is a sense of unity and writing can be a apparatus to unite them. Walt Whitman was a poet who wrote for the colloquial man, making him amicable to readers. Consciously or not writers send a message to their readers, in the case of Whitman he uses his writing to send a message of unity and appreciation. Masked through change of point of view and repetition of thought Walt Whitman establishes understanding, creates a “safe space”, exudes appreciation, and moves things forward in his poetry.…show more content…
Whitman layers himself into his poetry as a way to associate himself to the reader(s). In the poem “O Me, O Life” Whitman is having an existential crisis, elaborating on his own weakness stating, “for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?”. Throughout the first stanza Whitman communicates only in the first person, allowing the readers to see where he himself is suffering. However, in the last stanza he flips the poem to the reader, beginning to write in the second person point of view. Answering his existentialism with, “[t]hat you are here- that life exists and identity”. At first Whitman uses first person point of view to share his predicament with the audience, however in the end he utilizes second person point of view to identify with his readers, letting them know they share a struggle. Furthermore, Whitman creates a place where there is no doubt to what he is saying and what he is trying to convey. Through repetition of thought he is in depth, stating frequently what he means. For example, he states, “the questions of those recurring” at the beginning of the poem then at the end he states, “O me! so sad, recurring”. It is comprehensible that in “O Me, O Life” that he is bearing his inner conflicts for the audience to see. While Whitman is indicating his understanding he is also laying groundwork for a satisfactory compass for his…show more content…
A way he is able to achieve this is by displaying to them they are not alone. Repetition of thought not only connects him to his readers, it also connects the readers together. In “I Hear America Singing” Whitman speaks of the individual’s songs, specifically “their strong melodious songs”. Although he articulates often how each person has their own song he links them together at the end with that simple line. As stated earlier he unifies his struggles with those of the reader. His change of point of view in “O Me, O Life” sends a message directly to his readers. That message is that struggles can be shared with anyone, even a famous poet such as himself. Moreover, uniting people is not the only way Whitman makes readers feel safe, he also lifts their spirits. “Pioneers, O Pioneers!” is another one of Walt Whitman’s poems and is filled with ideas of Westward expansion, he often discusses the “western youths” that are strong,”full of action,...of manly pride and friendship”.However he also indicates those who are weak, “[d]o they droop and end their lessons, wearied” he then alternates his point if view stating, “[w]e take up the task eternal, and the burden, and the lesson”. This change of point of view creates an air of positivity and shows the disheartened he with the help of others will assist them. As he creates a safe space Whitman allows for appreciation to seep through his
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