Walt Whitman as a Voice for the People
"The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as much as he absorbs his country."
This brilliant quote from Walt Whitman thus ends his preface to Leaves of Grass, and thereafter begins the poem "Song of Myself." To many, upon their first reading, this was a crude, shocking and distasteful piece of work. but to me...this was a celebration of life. And not just a celebration of his own life, but of every life, of the American life. Walt Whitman is the "voice of the people" and this I believe because, while he did write of things that were not seen as aesthetically beautiful by many...including homosexuality, loneliness, and death. And while these topics were not picturesque to …show more content…
You shall not look through my eyes either....
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself."
I love this line, because itís actually telling people that itís okay to think for yourself. I believe that, here, we can see the coming out of him. Heís speaking for the people...asking them to finally stand taller and think for themselves. This is what I interpreted this line as. Something else that struck me while reading "Song of Myself" and some of the criticisms on it, was what I like to call "The shock factor". I call it this because when this was published, America didnít have much of an identify. It was vast, and searching. Whitmanís poetry seemed to encompass everyone and everything through it. But what's ironic about this is, while Whitman stood as the American voice, finally speaking refreshingly and truthfully...many rejected him. People thought that his style was way to different from what they were used to, and did not understand Whitman. And heaven forbid, his meter was irregular, and his verses did not rhyme! Even Thoreau said "It is as if the beasts spoke". But what came as more of a shock to people was his unleashing of things that were just plain never talked about. Whitman was most certainly one of the first to talk of sexuality, homosexual relationships, lust, and desire, and the more sensual parts of the human body. Although I can see how those who
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In “Song of Myself” Whitman attempts to speak on behalf of the entire American population. He tries to pull the reader into a world of many possibilities. Whitman makes a
Ok. So those are the facts. Now let's examine "Song Of Myself" and Whitman with greater detail. There are several sections in this poem that enhance our knowledge on the stand Whitman is taking toward his body and sexuality. He begins in Section 4 with a reflection on the "Real Person". Or what he views as "Real." He states, "The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love." This stanza depicts Whitman's view on sexuality and on equality. He obviously, in this stanza shows no favoritism toward either gender. He is saying that he loves both equally regardless of any differences. He
Walt Whitman explores individualism by looking through all of the diversity within America and identifying that people are different and have come from many different backgrounds. However, we are all one in the same due to the connection of being American. He does this because he wants to maintain his individual “self-hood” while finding a place within America, a happy medium. The role of the individual in this piece of work Whitman states is “one of the Nation of many Nations, the smallest the same and the largest the same,” which means everyone has a different background and have all come from many places far away, but are still apart of America nonetheless. This is what brings us together. In the opening section of Song of Myself Whitman starts by saying all human beings are the same, “And what I assume you shall assume, for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” I believe this is Whitman’s attempt at trying to merge his own self into society, while maintaining his “self-hood.”
Walt Whitman was a revolutionary poet who let his emotions run free through his poetry. Whitman was never afraid to express himself no matter how inappropriate or offensive his emotions might have seemed at the time. This is why Whitman's poem still echo that same sentiment and emotion today almost as loudly as when the drums were first tapped.
Whitman wrote broad stanzas and focused on the whole of America as his inspiration. His lines covered a wide range of topics and generated multiple points of view for the reader. He called his life’s work “Leaves of Grass”; stressing the
Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" is a vision of the American spirit, a vision of Whitman himself. It is his cry for democracy, giving each of us a voice through his poetry. Each of us has a voice and desires, and this is Whitman's representation of our voices, the voice of America. America, the great melting pot, was founded for freedom and democracy, and this poem is his way of re-instilling these lost American ideals. In this passage from "Song of Myself" Whitman speaks through his fellow man and speaks for his fellow man when his voice is not socially acceptable to be heard.
After studying American author, Walt Whitman, it is clear that he has had a long lasting impact on society and the lives of authors and artists who came after him. Through works like Democratic Vistas and Song of Myself, Whitman gave American society tools to promote creative expression and the essence of democracy. However, Whitman’s methods had to be adopted over time to touch/bring attention to different social issues. Two authors who were able to branch off of Whitman’s works and ideas were Isadora Duncan and James Baldwin. By analyzing these two important characters of history, we will be able explore two different social issues in two different eras and how Duncan and Baldwin refined Whitman’s approach in order to make a statement in society. It’s significant to identify the importance of these artists because this process is still relevant in today’s society, adapting from Whitman in order to get points across and make a difference.
The creation of an acceptable persona is essential to Whitman's poetic program. In "Song of Myself" this is
Walt Whitman is considered one of the most important writers in the history of American Literature. The people of his own time called him a radical, a madman, and a pornographer. These days he is greatly appreciated and entitled as a fearless prophet of a new stage of human development. Sometimes Whitman would be in a slump and he felt that he needed to deflect the people who inquired too directly. This even meant using examples of homosexual elements in his work, as well as unbelievable stories of him having affairs with numerous women and fathering many children, unknown to him. Throughout these sorts of times W. Whitman has gone through both resentment and flattery, nevertheless showing us
On this verse, we can see how Whitman tries to connect to mind, body, spirit and nature. In “Song of Myself” Whitman attempted to change the meaning of American poetry. I described identity issues that pertain to him, but that the audience was able to identify with. Whitman, opened the door to
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
“I celebrate myself, and sing myself / and what I shall assume you shall assume” (Whitman 1-2). These lines not only open up the beginning of one the best poems of the American Romantic period, but they also represent a prominent theme of one of this period’s best poet, Walt Whitman. In Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, Whitman deals with his time period’s most prominent theme of democracy. Whitman tells readers that they must not only observe the democratic life but they must become one with it. As Whitman states, “For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you” (3). Democracy provides a connection with all people. It is as if Joseph Stella felt this connection and decided to depict it in his collection of paintings entitled “Americans in the Rough.” The individual is of no greater or lesser worth than anyone else. Beatrice Marovich states that, “It is a song for fellow Americans, about the American body politic” (349). An analysis of Song of Myself portrays that understanding and becoming one with democracy through political collectivity essentially sets the stage for the American democratic self. Joseph Stella does a great job of interpreting and depicting Whitman’s ideals of democracy through his illustrations representing every facet of an American democratic life.
It was a deep poem, because it opened up his perspective on life, and his perspective is unique. In a way he spoke of his own religion, and preached that everyone meets their maker, but everyone is reincarnated as a blade of grass, and he spoke of showing respect for the blades of grass because they could have been part of his ancestory or a person of importance to another person. In general, he wanted people to show appreciation for the world because many generations walked this planet before he did. He wanted people to respect those who have since been deceased, no matter their race, because death is inevitable, and they will soon face it. Whitman’s writing style carried over into this canto, his blank verse style of poetry, although it was not flashy, it made him sound educated and well spoken, but hard to follow. He also revealed that he did believe in a god when he spoke of God’s handkerchief was a gift for Earth, through a
In his poems and life, Walt Whitman celebrated the human spirit and the human body. He sang the praises of democracy and marveled at the technological advances of his era. His direct poetic style shocked many of his contemporaries. This style, for which Whitman is famous, is in direct relation to several major American cultural developments. The development of American dictionaries, the growth of baseball, the evolution of Native American policy, and the development of photography all played a part and became essential components of Whitman’s poetry.