Walt Whitman Essay Example

Walt Whitman was a revolutionary poet during the civil war, a time of great despair with unjust inequality and discrimination that ultimately infested the United States. Throughout his life, Whitman always seemed to be on the brink of insanity and genius when it came to his writing. In one of his most outstanding works, Song of Myself, from the book Leaves of Grass Whitman focuses on American regionalism as well as God's Divinity vs the physical realm. Whitman was a poet of balance and was always aware of the universe and all the harmony within it. He accepted all life and considered everything equal to each other and refused to tolerate discrimination. He was a true representative of all humanity because he used all aspects of God's work such as love and union when speaking truths like in section 21. Section 21 of Song of Myself really adheres to the rest of the poem by the way Whitman discusses Divinity and his disregard to traditional writing forms. Section 21 also reflects other sections such as section 5 because they have the common thread of descriptions of erotic behavior and nature. It also adheres to the rest of the poem because Whitman used alliteration to get his point across just like in other sections of the poem. The poem shows a multitude of emotions, like Whitman himself showed, which became especially evident when reading section 21. After careful deep reading and analysis, it can be theorized that in section 21Whitman aimed to show that both unity and love are important aspects of what make us not only human, but equals amongst each other and how important it is to be humbled by them.

In section 21, the poet hints on the idea of unity. For example, in the first line, "I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul" (Whitman 39) Whitman is comparing the unity between the physical and spiritual aspects of a person and how we are made up of both. To Whitman in section 21, the physical and spiritual beings are both important aspects of humankind and must be acknowledged as they both are part of the Divine. Whitman also mentions the unity and equality between men and women when he says, "I am the poet of the woman the same as man, And I say it is as great to be a woman as to be a man, And I say there is nothing greater than the mother of men" (Whitman 39). Whitman really emphasizes the ideology of equality and unity that it could ultimately be put into practice by our own country during the civil war. It's a possible idea that maybe Whitman was trying to relay the message that everyone and everything is equal and that it is our duty to let go of our pride, and we should be united together as one in the Divinity of Christ because we are all made of body and soul.

While the first part of section 21 talks about unity, the second portion of the section focuses on love. Love is a universal emotion, although not specific in where it goes, but more so on how it engulfs everything with its passion and purity. In this particular section, Whitman thanks the earth for giving him love, which he in return answers with more love as seen in lines 438-445 but most evident in the verse, "Far-swooping elbow'd earth—rich apple-blossom'd earth! Smile, for your lover comes" (Whitman 39). This particular line suggests the erotic writing that is seen throughout the rest of the poem, which is something Whitman is well-known for. Later in the section, Whitman references the New testament parable of the Prodigal son. The line, "Prodigal, you have given me love—therefore I to you give love! O unspeakable passionate love" (Whitman 39) brings an almighty notion of love that drives the reader to understand the world and our place in it. It also verifies the idea that we as humans need love to feel complete and that love itself does not discriminate as it is part of every human being.

As you reread section 21 of Song of Myself it becomes clear of Whitman's intentions when writing this particular section to show that both unity and love go together to complete the Divinity in which we were created. It is also important to note that through the use of metaphor, alliteration, and description, we are able to grasp the message Whitman was trying to write. Unity and love are both vital aspects of humanity and through section 21, it can be theorized that Whitman aimed to show that both unity and love play active roles in what make us not only human but equals amongst each other and how important it is to be humbled by them.


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