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Walt Whitman: Song of Myself: Leaves of Grass

Individual Poetry Unit
by

Jennifer Hustedt

on 7 March 2013

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Transcript of Walt Whitman: Song of Myself: Leaves of Grass

Song of Myself from Leaves of Grass Walt Whitman Song of Myself: Section 52 The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my
gab and my loitering.

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the
shadow'd wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.

I depart as all, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,

If you want me again look for me under your boot soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fiber your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you. Song of Myself: Section 17 By Jen Hustedt Extremely
Interesting
Background Leaves of Grass and What to Expect Historical Context Walt Whitman Strictly for Your Entertainment Didn't drink
Welcomed all religions
Anti-slavery
Questionable sexuality
Had Transcendentalist beliefs
Received no formal education
Had various jobs Core Beliefs
inherent goodness of both people and nature
society and its institutions ultimately corrup the purity of the individual
real people are independent people
only real people can make a community
individual expression Take Away: It was a pro-individual set of mind Take Away: He was pro-individual Take Away: His pro-individual beliefs showed up in his poetry Transcendentalism Movement
1830s and 1840s
protest to overall state of culture and society
two movements Whitman's Involvement
Whitman was considered a humanist (go humans, especially individuals) but participated in the transition between transcendentalism and realism (everyday experiences)
These ideas are shown in Whitman's poetry And Necessary! These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they
are not original with me,
If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing, or next
to nothing,
If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they are
nothing.
If they are not just as close as they are distant they are nothing.
This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is,
This the common air that bathes the globe. Whitman paid for the 795 copies of the first edition in 1855
Whitman revised repeatedly until his death
Each revision became less repetitive and more meaningful
Expressed Whitman's fundamental beliefs Is now known as the father of free verse and is considered to be one of the most influential American poets to date. Expressed his evolving vision of the world, and how everything is interwoven
"His passionate belief in democracy, equality, and the spiritual unity of all forms of life, he celebrated the potential of the human spirit" (Gillespie, 425).
His poetry celebrated both America and every aspect of the individuals within.
Transcendentalist ideas of "Oversoul"
Huminist and Realist ideas Movement
Core Beliefs
Whitman's Involvement Class Analyze! Rhyme: None, free verse
Rhythm: It flows, but no set rhythm
Point of View/Audience: Everyone; Whitman's poetry is his beliefs. Song of Myself is a collection of poems with a cadence similar to the Bible
Whitman gives the listener/reader the assumptions
Poetic Form: Free
Punctuation: At the end of thoughts; transitions ideas, separates long sentences
Denotation v. Connotation: "soles" sounds like "souls"
Literal v. Metaphorical/Concrete v. Abstract:
Grass: people interwoven
Leaves: pages of the story of life
Theme/Symbol:
Everyone on earth is interwoven, we are all in this together
Transcendalist

Diction: natural words
Ex. effuse, eddies, bequeath
Structure: long sentences, lists (catalogues)
Ex. "I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love"
Alliteration: Ex. I too am not a a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable Rhyme: None, free verse
Rhythm: It flows, but no set rhythm
Point of View/Audience: Everyone; Whitman's poetry is his beliefs.
(Huminist/Realist/Transcendalist/Pro-Individual)
Poetic Form: Free
Punctuation: At the end of thoughts; transitions ideas, separates long sentences
Denotation v. Connotation: I/me stands for everyone; all of mankind

Literal v. Metaphorical/ Concrete v. Abstract:
Grass: us; people
Themes/Symbols:
Not original ideas
Everyone on earth is interwoven

Repetition (anaphora): this section sums up Whitman's ideas so the idea of Section 17 is a repition of thought
Diction: bathes, distant, riddle, common
calm, collected, relaxed, etc. This poem sums up Whitman's overall idea! Questions? The End!
Full transcript