A Comparison of Walt Whitman and William Faulkner
Parting from established formalities, Walt Whitman and William Faulkner developed their own styles of writing, mixing cultural influences with contemporary ideas. Faulkner was strongly influenced by the southern culture while Whitman drew a powerful influence from transcendentalism. Each achieved great literary acclaim and success in their professional careers making it clear that their unique writing styles struck a chord with the readers. Whitman and Faulkner both drew from their own personal experiences to create new worlds for the readers. Whitman grew up in Long Island as the second eldest among nine other brothers and sisters. Whitman acquired much of his liberal intellectualism and political views from his father, a carpenter by trade, who grew up during the American Revolution. His father possessed a strong admiration for Thomas Pain and exposed Whitman to other New York socialists like Elias Hicks and Robert Dale Owen. From these exposures, Whitman developed his own transcendental views. At the age of 11, Whitman finished his formal schooling. In the years following, Whitman worked several odd jobs, one being at a law firm and at a printing press in New York (Allen). Whitman was still struggling to find his niche, as he moved on into a teaching career. Whitman wrote in a letter to a friend, “Never before have I entertained so low an idea of the beauty and perfection of man's nature, never have I seen humanity in so degraded a shape, as here, ignorance, vulgarity, rudeness, conceit, and dullness are the reigning gods of this deuced sink of despair” (qtd. in Folsom). Whitman’s own views of beauty and perfection became evident in his best-known work, Leaves of Grass, which endeavored to praise the senses and to glorify the human body. Whitman’s alluring personality enchanted many readers, but others found the poems in Leaves of Grass to be in poor taste. Whitman spoke freely...
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