Song of Myself by Walt Whitman Essay

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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…show more content…
By using metaphors to analogize grass with democracy, grass becomes a symbol for democracy allowing Whitman to convey his opinions on democracy by speaking bluntly about how he feels about the grass. Along with the use of metaphors, the form of the poem plays an important role in uncovering the views of Whitman. First and foremost, this poem was written in free verse which is a form of poetry that lacks structure. The free verse stucture of the poem is shown in the lack of form in the stanzas of the poem. Some stanzas are six lines long while others are only one, and the lines can be either concise or drawn out. The poem also lacks any apparent rhyming scheme or rhythm. Unlike Shakespearean poetry, where the foot of the poem stays the same, the lack of any apparent structure to the poem leaves the reader unable to predict what is coming next. In addition to this, at the time this poem was written, free verse was not common. In fact, Whitman may have been one of the first poets to use this form, showing that he may have been rebelling against the predominant structured form in poetry. The lack of any apparent structure guides the reader towards the conclusion that Whitman did not like structure in poetry, and can even be

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