his use of free verse. He was one of the first poets to use
this type of poetry which does not use regular rhyme scheme
and meter. Whitman was not appreciated or admired at first
for using this type of writing. Even though he abandoned
meter and rhyme schemes, he still used many poetic elements,
such as character, imagery, language, theme, tone, and form.
One poem that displays these elements is Song of Myself from
his collection of poems called Leaves of Grass. Just a
single section of this poem will contain all the elements
One aspect of Whitman's character I like most is the
way he uses free verse and doesn't adapt rhyme scheme and
meter, which was the most popular style of writing during
his time. It seems to me that Whitman himself is the speaker
of the poem and I could tell this when he says "It seems to
me more than all the print I have read in my life" (236).
This not only suggests that he is the speaker of the poem
but it also shows the amount of reading he has done. The
speaker uses clear images to describe a horse jockey when he
The negro holds firmly the reins of his horse,
the block swags underneath on its tied-over-chain,
The negro that drives the long dray of the stone-
yard, steady and tall he stands pois'd on one leg
on the string-piece, His blue shirt exposes his
ample neck and breast and loosens over his
hip band (225-227).
I feel that these images suggest that black men are equal to
white men because a horse jockey is somewhat considered a
noble sport and at the time Whitman wrote this, slavery was
still around in the United States.
Through Whitman's diction, his affiliation with nature
is established. This is shown when he says, "My tread scares
the wood-drake and wood-duck on my distant and day-long
ramble,/ They rise together, they slowly circle around"