Leaves of Grass “Song of Myself”

Topics: Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Leaves of Grass Pages: 7 (2996 words) Published: November 12, 2013
In “Song of Myself” Walt Whitman is trying to see self as a whole. He wants to find strength and beauty as to make self whole and to be unified with humanity and nature. While people are condemning him, because the expression of a sexual content and a connection that makes use body and soul as well as the shock value. Whitman’s friend Ralph Waldo Emerson decides to back him in his writing. Emerson’s letter to Whitman calling Leaves of Grass "the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed" saved Whitman's self-published first edition from sinking into obscurity. Yet even more important, Emerson's work as a whole helped to prepare readers for the liberal, post-Christian spirituality that pervades Leaves of Grass. (Insert my source). Whitman wants to bring unity and understanding that everyone is equal and should have the same level playing field. The word he writes brings things to life, but makes it separate from the world. He is showing physical emotions and interpretation of self with experience which means he is present everywhere. Ecperience our own self-reliance; “I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself, and what I assume you shall assume, for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you” (1). Whitman is empowering the reader to think and speak himself, by using metaphors, symbols, and analogies. He is also stressing to the reader that need to have your own thoughts: “what I assume you shall assume (1).” Whitman is trying to get his readers to understand they should have their own thoughts. He can show the way but they need to experience the journey for themselves. There is some of all of us in each other, in a way we are all on the same wave length (Pearce). We need to enjoy all of our senses and become one with nature.

Whitman is encouraging us to look for happiness as the word that comes close to the meaning of all things. Song of Myself seems to echo one of the strangest phrases in the United States “Declaration of Independence,” where Thomas Jefferson wrote “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness (Declaration of Independence). Jefferson and Whitman both emphasize the need to search for or pursue happiness? In both the “Declaration of Independence” and “Song of Myself” meaning of happiness is not something we are promised or guaranteed; rather, we are promised the right to pursue it. Whitman expands on his curiosity about his existence. Even if there weren't beings more sophisticated than the shell .he's more than just a shell; he's full of living energy. This energy makes it intensely pleasurable to touch things and people. Touch is the most important physical sense for Whitman. He can't stand to do anything more than touch someone. Each day we all encounter glimpes of the mysteries within us all, There is a definate conection here with Love, relatiohships, nature. Nature is apart of something. In my opiniion it has to do with happiness because we all pursue some kind of happiness within ourselves. Whitman contains everything and everyone this is a way for him to reimagine the boundary between the self and the world. By imaging a person capable of carrying the entire world inside him. Whitman would like the self to be capable of containing the whole world. Undrape! you are not guilty to me, nor stale nor discarded, I see through the broadcloth and gingham whether or no, And am around, tenacious, acquisitive, tireless, and cannot be shaken away (6).” A small child asked, what is the grass? Whitman does not know how to answer the child. The grass is a symbol of life and death. “Growing among black folks as among white, Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same (5 )“ The speaker is observing a spear of summer grass and extending an invitation to his soul. Whitman promise’s that he will speak at every...

Cited: The Holy Bible: King James Version. New York: American Bible Society, 1984. Print.
Whitman, Walt. Song of Myself: From Leaves of Grass. New York: Greystone, 1951. Print.
Berkove, Lawrence. "Biblical Influence on Whitman’s Concept of Creator Hood." Emerson Society Quarterly 47 (1967): 34-37. Print.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Walt Whitman Song of Myself Essay
  • Song of Myself Essay
  • Song of Myself Essay
  • Leaves of Grass Essay
  • Song of Myself Essay
  • Song of Myself: Individuality and Free Verse Essay
  • Song of Myself by walt whitman Essay
  • Essay on Recitatif and Song of Myself

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free