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Walt Whitman Small Group Project: I Sing the Body Electric

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Matthew Durfee

on 7 September 2012

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Transcript of Walt Whitman Small Group Project: I Sing the Body Electric

I Sing the Body Electric Corbin, Alex D, Alex G, Nicki "I Sing the Body Electric"
- Poem by Walt Whitman
- According to Gutman, examines the beauty of the human body
- Original title was "Poem of the Body" - The tone is uplifted and inspired
- "The armies of those I love" (l2)
- Won't let him go until they show him the wonders of the human body
- "And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?" (l5) -4. Rhyme scheme
- Whitman does not rhyme in this poem
Uses one sentence per line
- Sentences in section two describe people and their actions; describes the wonders of their bodies
- Lots of repetition in this section - l19: "Swimmers naked in the swimming bath..."
- l20: Rowers "bending forwards and backwards" Metaphors
- Used to describe and enhances the descriptions of people
Man walking by compared to reading a poem (l16)
l21: Women's lives compared to performances
l28: A fireman's uniform is compared to a costume
Final lines; metaphors show his appreciation of human action and desire to be a part of it
Enjoys experiencing life
Do you think he's really performing these actions? Diction/Word Choice
- Positive, hopeful
- l22: Laborers have "wives waiting"
- l25&26: Wrestlers are "good-natured"
"Embrace of love and resistance" Section 3 Diction/ Tone:
Positive, complimentary and loving
admiration almost to the point of worship This poem is
free verse Verse and Style
- Whitman does not use rhyming
- Whitman writes this poem in "free verse" meaning that it is simply read in a normal reading rhythm
- Whitman emphasizes the use of metaphors and diction in this section Section 4 Repetition:
"please the soul" Metaphor
L5 comparing delight to swimming in a se Metaphor:
L5 compares the amount of delight he has to swimming in a sea free verse Sections 5 & 6 Diction and Word Choice
- L2 "A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot"
- L6 "Mad filaments, ungovernable shoots play out of it, the response likewise ungovernable,"
- L3 "The flush of the known universe in know to him"
- The diction of these two sections describes the bodies as being perfect and almost ethereal Section 7 Repetition:
the common man Metaphors
- L4 "I am drawn by its breath as if i were no more than a helpless vapor"
- L9 "jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of love, white-blow and delirious juice
- L16 "You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of the soul" Characteristics of style/verse:
free verse Tone
- Enlightened Tone
- Diction and metaphors create this tone Section 9 Sections 1 & 2 Main Idea Whitman goes over every part of the body from the head to the toes in categories. For example he writes eyes, and then lists everything about the eye form the iris to the eye lids. Or the mouth and then the teeth, jaw, tongue.
He is giving a tour of the human body trying to show how many things come together to make the human body perfect. 1. 2. 3. 5. 6. Section 8 Repetition
- L17, L18, L19 Repetition of question Repetition In section nine there is a heavy use of
repetition. Throughout the section Whitman
lists body part after body part as the beginning
to every line.
"Head, neck, hair, ears, drop and tympan of the ears,
Eyes, eye-fringes, iris of the eye, eyebrows, and the , waking or sleeping of the lids,
Mouth, tongue, lips, teeth, roof of the mouth, jaws, , and the jaw-hinges,
Nose, nostrils of the nose, and the partition" Later in the section there was also the repetition of the word "the"

The continual changes of the flex of the mouth, and around the eyes,
The skin, the sunburnt shade, freckles, hair, L1 has repetition in fathers of sons
Metaphor for generations of his kids,
grand kids, and great grand kids Repetition of the word"love" which emphasizes that people love him Metaphors:
enough is a metaphor for being satisfied with his life
pleasing the soul is a metaphor for truly content without having to lie to himself Diction/Tone:
the feeling of content Verse/Style Tone Metaphor Diction/Tone:
astonishment Whitman uses free verse in this poem. Usually free verse does not really have a rhythm but with his use of repetition Whitman creates a rhythm. Also most lines in section 9 follow the same list like structure. This again helps give a rhythm to the poem. He has a very detailed style, going very in depth about each body part. Tone/Diction:
somewhat anger Repetition:
women Characteristics of verse/style:
free verse In this section Whitman seems to be in awe of the human body. He sees everything about the human body as perfection and beauty Metaphor Walt Whitman is famous for using metaphor
and in almost every other section there is considerable use of metaphor. But in this section as he is just listing the parts of the body there is virtually no use of metaphor. 1. 2. 3. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. The images of the video offer a new perspective on the poem; connecting nature to the body as opposed to only the perfection of the body. Metaphor
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