Walt Whitman and His Strange Obsession With God Essay

1970 Words8 Pages
Myberson Saint-Pierre
American Literature 1865-1914
English 3040
Prof. Rosa Soto
November 27, 2012
Walt Whitman and His Strange Obsession With God

Walt Whitman was an egotistical, self-absorbed, wild heretic. “I celebrate myself, and sing myself” (Songs of Myself 1). Multiple times in his books and essays he claims to be better than the masses. “I am as bad as the worst, but, thank God, I am as good as the best” (Preface to a Leaves of Grass). Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune (Songs of the Open Road). Walt Whitman is often thought of as an atheist, but I’m not buying it. In my opinion Whitman deep down believed that there was a God, and not only did he believe that there was a God, he believed himself
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“… He can make every word he speaks draw blood (Preface to a Leaves of Grass 6)”.
Whitman attempts to put God on the same level as he. In his writing he devalues everything that God and Christians have deemed as valuable.
And I have said that the soul is not more than the body, And I have said that the body is not more than the soul, And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one’s self is . . .And I say to humankind, Be not curious about God, For I who am curious about each am not curious about God . . . I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least, Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful than myself . . . Why should I wish to see God better than this day (Song of Myself 48)?
What is Whitman saying here exactly? In the Christian world the soul is what goes to on live forever once the body is deceased. The soul will either go to Heaven or Hell. Since it goes on to live forever, while the body will live a couple of decades, the soul is more valuable then the body. Whitman rejects all of that by saying no; the soul is not greater than the body. He continues by saying that God isn’t greater than one’s self. One of the things about God or any other gods is that they are higher than everyone else, that’s why we look to them in times of trouble. For the Greeks, the gods lived on Mount Olympus- a mountain so sacred that no human, in Greek

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