Whitman - Song Of Myself

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Although the poem identifies “myself” as Walt Whitman, the identity of the speaker is also mythic. Instead of trying to say how unique his feelings and thoughts are, Whitman emphasizes his own self. His ordinary self is so comprehensive that he absorbs each American, past, present, and future. This comprehensive awareness makes the speaker of the poem greater than himself, but it is greatness that he emphasizes to us as readers. Whitman's poem is really long it has a lot of symbolism, imagery, descriptions and whatever else you can name. It’s easy to become distracted by the many details of the poem, but with reasonable attention you can infer the underlying message he is trying to get across. This has to do of course, with his whole philosophy of the "self". Although his poem is told from his point of view and uses and some references to his own life, this "self' is not referring to only Whitman. It is a general reference to humanity as a whole. Even looking at the very beginning of this poem, this can be easily inferred from the line "For every atom belonging to me as well belongs to you" (Whitman). Whitman switches back and forth from his own personal feelings and tangible experiences to generalized, philosophical statements about this "self" and humanity. As Yong-lan notes, this microcosm-macrocosm outlook is necessary to establish the feeling of relation with others, and more importantly, the ability for the reader to relate to what Whitman is saying (Yong-lan). In Whitman's lines "Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful news, the fitful events; these come me to days and nights and go from me again, But they are not the me “myself", he pulls common feelings and events together for the reader to relate to (Whitman). Since Whitman's era crossed with the Civil War, there is no doubt that tragedies and feelings of grief were all very

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