Resist Much, Obey Little

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Resist Much, Obey Little Kenneth M. Price asserts that “Walt Whitman is a foundational figure in American culture.” This statement certainly holds true, as the transcendental “father of free verse” gained his place as one of the 19th century’s greatest American writers after self-publishing his most renowned work, Leaves of Grass, multiple times, each time with added pieces and revisions of previous ones. The novel, inclusive of his widely recognized poem “Song of Myself”, composed of fifty-two sections, is considered an American landmark in literature. The collection offers profound, universal ideas dealing with significant transcendental concepts such as self-love, nonconformity within a society, the ideas that God exists within everything and beyond, and that true comprehension of life involves true appreciation of nature. Prior to his rapid gain of literary recognition, Whitman volunteered as a nurse for the Civil War for three years. His experiences at the hospital inspired numerous poetry and prose pieces, and he soon became certain that he could construct more pieces out of his life-changing encounters with wounded soldiers. Walt Whitman’s distinct style and technique presented in his work always leads back to the highly significant transcendental principle of nonconformity. A major theme that Walt Whitman conveys throughout his work is that experience is more important than education. One way in which Whitman demonstrates this idea is in “When I Heard the Learn’d

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