Do the recurrent themes and images, as well as the separate sections of the works, move forward with a discernible purpose? there are millions of suns left, / You shall no longer take things at second or third hand . Like the growing, vibrant country in which Whitman lived, the world of his poetry is populated with individuals from all walks of life. Whitman’s first occupation, at the age of twelve, was in the printing trade, and, throughout his life, Whitman insisted on being deeply involved in the design and layout of his books.
Just after “Song of Myself” begins, the speaker asks the reader a short series of questions that challenge some common assumptions about language and literature: “Have you practiced so long to learn to read? There is a mocking quality to the speaker’s use of the words “practiced” and “proud,” as if he intends to offer something direct and unmediated to the reader. At the same time, the speaker in “Song of Myself” subsumes these individuals to some greater idea in which individuality is dissolved. From printing, he made an easy transition to journalism.
If this is the case and you are stuck for ideas of what topics to actually base your essay on then the following should help you to make your mind up.
When writing an essay about Walt Whitman you have the option of either writing about any of his poetry and written work or, alternatively, you may decide to write about him as a person.
Before you take a look at past papers for some extra topic ideas, you may wish to consider the possibility of using some of the topics that have been listed below.
- Walt Whitman is possibly one of the best examples of an artist who drew no distinctions between art and culture. His role as an artist must then be intrinsically manifesting himself as a representative of the America masses, or express himself as America personified.Equally, you may decide to examine what has happened in his life that may have influenced the way that he wrote about the world, in which case you would be combining topics both about him and his body of work.If you have read much of the work of Walt Whitman then you may well have some topics in mind; however, to give you some further inspiration, you may decide to look at what has been written about him in the past./ Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems? The next lines articulate this promise: “Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems, / You shall possess the good of the earth and sun . One of the central questions that “Song of Myself” implicitly asks us to consider is how individuality can be celebrated and valued while, at the same time, a more fundamental resolution of apparent differences can inform one’s vision of the world. After a fire in New York City’s printing district decimated the industry, Whitman retreated in 1836 to his family’s home on Long Island and worked as a schoolteacher.This question is one of the central dilemmas of a democratic republic such as the United States, and Whitman’s poetry can be viewed as profoundly political, a perspective that he himself emphasizes in his preface to the first edition. He returned to New York City in 1841, intent on making a career of writing.Whitman traveled to Virginia during the Civil War to tend to his wounded brother, George. C., to help the wounded and dying, supporting himself with a series of bureaucratic jobs.His experiences led to a series of poems reflecting on the war and on the death of President Abraham Lincoln; Whitman later incorporated these poems, which included one of his greatest, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” into the larger scheme of Leaves of Grass.A calculated spontaneity characterizes the first edition, which lacks the titles and section numbers that appear in later editions. nor feed on the spectres in books, / You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, / You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself” (ll. Does the speaker suggest here that “Song of Myself” will perform some function that transcends the communication of meaning through words?This absence of signposts seems appropriate for the predominant themes of Whitman’s poetry. Yet the poet himself uses words to communicate his vision to us. How can the contradictions in an individual or a nation be accommodated and lead to wholeness rather than divisiveness?INTRODUCTIONWalt Whitman first published his collection of poems, Leaves of Grass, in 1855, and he continued to rework and expand it until his death in 1892.Since then, editors and scholars have labored over the original texts, producing numerous editions of the collection according to a variety of interpretations.