Language has always been the thread to string together the vast tapestry of humanity and its experiences. Language is the single most important tool that connects one individual to another, allowing people to break beyond the barriers of silence and isolation into a world of communication and interaction. French philosopher George Bataille defines this sensation of eroticism in the following terms: “We are discontinuous beings, individuals who perish in isolation in the midst of an incomprehensible adventure, but we yearn for our lost continuity.” These factors are considerably more pervasive in same-sex eroticism, the very nature of which forces many into isolation. this yearning for connection is witnessed throughout a variety of the texts in this class. Most specifically, this yearning is present indicated in Walt Whitman’s foliage related metaphor in the “Calamus” poems, Audre Lorde’s experience with lesbians as written in her autobiography “Zami: A New Spelling of My Name”, Essex Hemphill’s loneliness in his poem “Under Certain Circumstances”, Housman’s unrequited love in Tom Stoppard’s play “The Invention of Love, and Leslie Feinberg’s resemblance to the character Jess in s/he’s novel “Stone Butch Blues”.
Walt Whitman understands the importance of language in expressing the deepest of emotions. Like most men, Whitman finds trouble describing his emotions through spoken words. He uses an elaborate metaphor comparing himself and his emotions to the leaves of trees. This metaphor serves as a theme that ties two specific poems together, “I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing” and “Here the Frailest Leaves of Me”. The subject of the first poem is an oak tree, which Whitman observes stands alone and apart from other trees. He notes that while the tree lives alone, “without a friend or lover near” whereas “I know very well I could not.” Whitman concedes that he could not live without the connection of a friend or lover,...
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