Walt Whitman "Spontaneous Me"

Topics: Sexual intercourse, Human sexual behavior, Human sexuality Pages: 4 (1524 words) Published: February 28, 2012
Walt Whitman “Spontaneous Me”
“Walt Whitman revolutionized American Poetry” (Norton 2190). A statement made by many, in which the American society can agree upon. His bold style of writing grasps the reader into a world where nature and sexuality meet. Whitman’s collection entitled Leaves of Grass was published in 1855 to a nation barely accepting of new ideas (Oakes). During the time of slavery and great religious value, Whitman’s pieces were considered immoral, traitorous and were often banned in many areas. In his piece, “Spontaneous Me,” Whitman describes the sexual act of procreation and masturbation from a male through metaphors of poetic nature.

Walt Whitman was born in 1819 in New York, and it was only until after he died in 1892, that his poems were greatly appreciated (Oakes). He started his career leaving school as a printer’s apprentice, then moved on to teaching in a one-room schoolhouse, and finally came to found his own weekly newspaper, The Long Islander. In this paper he expressed his views on the American society. His first edition of Leaves of Grass, discussed his remorse for slavery, respect for prostitutes and his hate for the draft (Oakes). He is often remembered as a homosexual for his symbolic poems and his rumored only sexual encounter being with a man. This may have been what sparked the theme of masturbation from a man in “Spontaneous Me.”

Whitman writes “Spontaneous Me” by using the poem as a whole and nature as metaphors. To express his views on the experience of sexual relations, he indulges on the nature that surrounds him. He starts the poems with, “Spontaneous me, Nature,” which clearly states that he is on the same level as nature (Whitman 1). He moves on with the images of “the loving day, the morning sun, the friends I am happy with” (Whitman 2). The imagery in the entire poem, of the nature around him and the setting, help to create the process in which the reader realizes what the metaphor of the poem stands for. In...

Cited: Gordon, Travis. "Whitman 's Spontaneous Me." Explicator 52.4 (1994): 219. Literary
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Leonard, Douglas. "Whitman 's SPONTANEOUS ME." Explicator 45.2 (1987): 29.
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Oakes, Elizabeth H. "Whitman, Walt." American Writers, American Biographies. New
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Whitman, Walt. “Spontaneous Me.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed.
Nina Byam. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2007. 2190-2259. Print.
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