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Walt Whitman

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Hannah Clements

on 25 March 2013

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Transcript of Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman By: Hannah Clements Early Childhood Adult Life Poetic Life Highlights of Walt Whitman's Life First Poem- "Miracles" The Last Years Title Significance Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819, in West Hills, Long Island, New York.
His parents were Walter and Louisa Whitman. He was the second of their eight surviving children.
At the age of three, Walt moved with his family to Brooklyn, where his father hoped to take advantage of the economic opportunities in New York City. However, he made bad investments and did not achieve the success he craved.
Walt's father, unable to support the family pulled Walt out of school at the age of eleven to work. This was the end of his education. To help his family, Walt found employment in the printing business. When Walt was 17, he became a teacher. He taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Long Island. He continued to teach for five years.
In 1841, Walt set his sights on journalism. He started a weekly newspaper and later returned to New York City to continue in the newspaper business. In 1846 he became the editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, a prominent newspaper.
In 1848 Whitman left for New Orleans, where he became the editor of the Crescent, however he only kept this job for three months.
He then returned to Brooklyn where he started a new "free soil" newspaper, called the Brooklyn Freeman. Over the next seven years, Whitman's anger over slavery elevated. He worried about the impact of slavery on the future of the nation and its democracy. In the spring of 1855, Walt published a slim collection of twelve unnamed poems, Leaves of Grass. The next year he published a revised version of this collection.
During his subsequent career, Whitman continued to refine the volume, publishing several more editions of the book.
Walt spent his declining years working on additions and revisions to a new edition of the book and preparing his final volume of poems and prose, Good-Bye, My Fancy (1891). In 1873, Walt's health took a turn. He suffered a stroke in January 1873, which left him partially paralyzed.
On March 1892, Walt passed away in Camden, New Jersey. Right up until the end he continued to work with Leaves of Grass. He was buried in a large mausoleum he had built in Camden's Harleigh Cemetery. What do you think this poem is going to be about? The significance of the title is that it is the theme of the poem. When you read the title, you think the poem is probably going to be about big unexpected good things, however the poem is really about the small things in life. During the 1850's, Whitman embarked upon writing Leaves of Grass, his first work that would bring him his greatest success. It was published anonymously and raised much interest within a short period of time. With the onset of the American Civil War, Whitman wrote his poem Beat! Beat! Drums, that appeared as a call for the country. Miracles
Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with anyone I love, or sleep in the bed at night with anyone I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the ships with the men in them,
What stranger miracles are there? Poetic Devices A motif is used in this poem. The motif used is miracles. A motif is a reoccurring image, phrase, word, action, idea, object, situation, or person (other than the main character).
Repetition is also used. The author repeats "or" and "to me" to show how many things he considers to be miracles.
Imagery is language that appeals to the senses. Whitman uses imagery in this poem by describing the miracles, and creating a picture of them in the reader's head when he/she reads the poem. Speaker The speaker of this poem seems to be an older man, who wishes to assert and defend the fact that all aspects of creation are miracles. The speaker says that everything from a man to a fish are miracles, and all he sees is miracles. The speaker is speaking about how the little things in life deserve to be recognized, and are miracles too. The speaker seems to be expressing his thoughts and feelings to the reader. I think the author gave the poem this title to make the reader really think about miracles, and how they do not have to be big, many small things in life are in fact miracles. Tone The tone of this poem is happy and enthusiastic. The attitude of the author towards the subject is joyous and positive. Theme The theme of this poem is to appreciate and recognize the little things in life, and to search for the small miracles that make life great. Rhyme Scheme "Miracles" is written in free verse. Free verse is poetry with no set rhyme or meter. Diction The diction used in this poem is positive and enthusiastic. Miracles
Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with anyone I love, or sleep in the bed at night with anyone I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,

The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.
To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the ships with the men in them,
What stranger miracles are there? Second Poem- "Among the Multitude" What do you think this poem is going to be about? Among the Multitude

Among the men and women, the multitude,
I perceive one picking me out by secret and divine signs,
Acknowledging none else not parent, wife, husband, brother, child, any nearer than I am;
Some are baffled
But that one is not that one knows me.

Ah, lover and perfect equal!
I meant that you should discover me so, by my faint indirections;And I, when I meet you, mean to discover you by the like in you. Title Significance The significance of this title is that it gives the reader a big picture of the poem. Among the multitude, or out of everybody in this whole world, there is a soul mate for you. I think Whitman gave this poem this title because it basically explains the poem in three words perfectly. Speaker The speaker of this poem is a man who believes in true love. The speaker is speaking to his lover, whom he wishes to find in the multitude of people. He is expressing his feelings about finding true love in this poem. The speaker is speaking about his search for true love among the crowd. Poetic Devices Tone In the first stanza, the tone is slow and romantic and in the second stanza the tone becomes more exciting. Overall, the tone of this poem is wistful and hopeful at the same time. The author's attitude towards the subject is hopeful. Theme The theme of this poem is that no matter how great the crowd, or how many others are in the way, a soul mate, a true kindred spirit exists for us all. Symbolism In line two, "picking me out by a secret and divine signs" symbolizes that God will play a role in bringing these two soul mates together. Rhyme Scheme The rhyme scheme of "Among the Multitude" is also free verse. It has no set rhyme. Diction The diction of this poem is hopeful and positive. Walt Whitman's Poetry Style and Theme Walt's poetry style is best described as bold and confident. He went out of his way not to be elegant and refined. Most of his poems were written in free verse, however he made them flow exceptionally well. Some reoccurring themes in Whitman's poetry are democracy as a way of life, the cycle of growth and death, and the beauty of the individual. Works Cited Imagery is used in this poem. The author creates an image of his soul mate, that he is hoping to find.
Denotation of divine- addressed, appropriated, or devoted to God or a god; religious; sacred
The motif in this poem is the idea that everyone has and should find their soul mate. Among the Multitude Among the men and women, the multitude,
I perceive one picking me out by secret and divine signs,
Acknowledging none else not parent, wife, husband, brother, child, any nearer than I am;
Some are baffled
But that one is not that one knows me.

Ah, lover and perfect equal!
I meant that you should discover me so, by my faint indirections;And I, when I meet you, mean to discover you by the like in you. http://www.whitmanarchive.org/
http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/126
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/walt-whitman
http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/126
http://www.uwc.utexas.edu/handouts/poetic-devices
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