By the time Whitman had shaped Leaves of Grass into its final structure inhe left the poem its lines now grouped into 52 sections in a lead position, preceded only by the epigraph-like cluster "Inscriptions" and the programmatic "Starting from Paumanok.
Whitman uses small, precisely drawn scenes to do his work here. But sectionalism and the violence of the Civil War threatened to break apart and destroy the boundless possibilities of the United States.
Repeatedly the speaker of this poem exclaims A literary analysis of song of myself by whitman he contains everything and everyone, which is a way for Whitman to reimagine the boundary between the self and the world. This epic sense of purpose, though, is coupled with an almost Keatsian valorization of repose and passive perception.
Whitman in the Light of Vedantic Mysticism. Just as the poem depicts the everyday lives and experiences of ordinary people, the language he uses is a reflection of those same ordinary folks.
Often a sentence will be broken into many clauses, separated by commas, and each clause will describe some scene, person, or object.
Describing the life cycle of nature helped Whitman contextualize the severe injuries and trauma he witnessed during the Civil War—linking death to life helped give the deaths of so many soldiers meaning. The scene culminates in orgasmic release section 29and is in turn followed section 30 by a postcoital peace that passeth understanding.
The self is conceived of as a spiritual entity which remains relatively permanent in and through the changing flux of ideas and experiences which constitute its conscious life.
In the sixteenth section, he elaborates on who he is in connection to his world, and he includes this line: Saved from torpor and despair, he rises from the dead, an American Christ, and rises from the recumbent position he has maintained, appearances to the contrary, throughout the poem, to proclaim his faith in himself and in all others, equally divine, and in a vaguely defined but enthusiastically embraced cosmic plan.
But increasingly his focus fixes on the equality of body and soul and ways of rescuing the body from its inferior status.
The Homosexual Tradition in American Poetry. The division of the free-flowing untitled poem into fifty-two numbered sections, like the addition and subsequent revision of the title, proves more significant, for this overt structuring appears to add a sense of order and progression that the poem originally seemed to lack.
But they also signify a common material that links disparate people all over the United States together: As the speaker mourns the loss of Lincoln, he drops a lilac spray onto the coffin; the act of laying a flower on the coffin not only honors the person who has died but lends death a measure of dignity and respect.
Everyone must die eventually, and so the natural roots of democracy are therefore in mortality, whether due to natural causes or to the bloodshed of internecine warfare. Most of his poems are spoken from the first person, using the pronoun I. Sexual union is a figurative anticipation of spiritual union.
He says, for example: Often, Whitman begins several lines in a row with the same word or phrase, a literary device called anaphora. Elsewhere the speaker of that exuberant poem identifies himself as Walt Whitman and claims that, through him, the voices of many will speak.
Complete Poetry and Collected Prose. In the final analysis, readers must find their own way through "Song of Myself. Garland Publishing,reproduced by permission.
In a very real sense, no reading of the poem has clarified the sum of its many mysteries. Whitman in Our Season: But in one of the strangest reversals in "Song of Myself," this peak of exaltation in section 33 glides into its opposite as the poet begins to identify more and more closely with the outcasts and rejected: Colloquial words unite the natural with the spiritual, and therefore he uses many colloquial expressions.
Rapid, regular plant growth also stands in for the rapid, regular expansion of the population of the United States.
Having worked through some of the conditions of perception and creation, Whitman arrives, in the third key episode, at a moment where speech becomes necessary. The poet does not deny but dismisses his "contradictions," asserting, "I am large, I contain multitudes.
The second episode is more optimistic.
In this section a woman watches twenty-eight young men bathing in the ocean. Note his use of colloquialisms, slang, and dialect throughout this selection. I loaf and invite my soul; I lean and loaf at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass. Moving away from American diversity in section 17, the poet turns to human commonality—to "the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is.
During the nineteenth century, America expanded at a tremendous rate, and its growth and potential seemed limitless. It is also an interesting exercise to read the poem without the divisions. This paradoxical set of conditions describes perfectly the poetic stance Whitman tries to assume.
In his poetry, Whitman widened the possibilities of poeticdiction by including slang, colloquialisms, and regional dialects, rather than employing the stiff, erudite language so often found in nineteenth-century verse.
Such despair, unfelt during similar identifications with outcasts in sectionssuggests that the poet has moved obscurely beyond the knowledge of his previous phase. Houses and rooms represent civilization; perfumes signify individual selves; and the atmosphere symbolizes the universal self.Whitman then takes the metaphor one step farther, telling the child that even the grass that has died and has gone back to the earth is a part of the whole.
“Song of Myself” balances the themes of individuality and collectivity as two important ingredients for the democratic experiment of America. This is Whitman’s political argument.
The speaker of Whitman’s most famous poem, “Song of Myself,” even assumes the name Walt Whitman, but nevertheless the speaker remains a fictional creation employed by the poet Whitman.
Although Whitman borrows from his own autobiography for some of the speaker’s experiences, he also borrows many experiences from popular works. Walt Whitman is an accessible poet.
Everyone can, and should, read Whitman. There's something about his poetic tone that is so reassuring that it's hard to be intimidated by. Dive deep into Walt Whitman's Song of Myself with extended analysis, commentary, and discussion.
"Song of Myself" portrays (and mythologizes) Whitman's poetic birth and the journey into knowing launched by that "awakening." But the "I" who speaks is not alone. His camerado, the "you" addressed in the poem's second line, is the reader, placed on shared ground with the poet, a presence throughout much of the journey.
Summary and Analysis: Song of Myself"" Sectionslines Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List This poem celebrates the poet's self, but, while the "I" is the poet himself, it is, at the same time, universalized.Download