Walt Whitman as Every Person

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Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” was rewritten repeatedly, not reaching its final form until 1881, nor did it have the title "Song of Myself," until the 1881 edition, (Whitman’s, 2009). Previous editions were titled "Poem of Walt Whitman, an American" and simply "Walt Whitman," (Whitman’s, 2009). “The poem's shifting title suggests something of what Whitman was about in this piece,” (Whitman’s, 2009). “This poem celebrates the poet’s self, but, while the ‘I’ is the poet himself, it is, at the same time, universalized,” (Song, 2009). In the very beginning of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” he says “I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you,” (Whitman, n.d.). In “Song of Myself,” Walt Whitman, “the specific individual” becomes instead the abstract "Myself," as the poem “explores the possibilities for communion between individuals, (Whitman’s, 2009). While "Song of Myself" is full of important details, “there are three key episodes that must be examined, (Whitman’s, 2009). The first of these “key episodes” is found in the sixth section of the poem, in which a child asks the narrator "What is the grass?" and the poet is forced to “explore his own use of symbolism and his inability to break things down to essential principles,” (Whitman’s, 2009). The grass in the child's hands becomes symbolic of the regeneration in nature, and of how things and people never truly die: “All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,” (Whitman, n.d.). The grass also signifies a common bond that links people all over the United States together: “”Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones, Growing among black folks as among white, Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same,” (Whitman, n.d.). The second episode is the twenty-ninth bather in the eleventh
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