Song of Myself Quotes by Walt Whitman
What is the tone for Walt Whitman's poem song of myself?
You should really take time to read the poem - it's a gem. Throughout the poem, Whitman writes effusively, speaking about how he is absorbing beauty. He asks the reader to banish previous assumptions. The tone is one of calm - the poet is entirely at peace. Answer this question… Which would most interest Walt Whitman?
Engraving by Samuel Hollyer, after a daguerreotype by Gabriel Harrison original daguerreotype lost. Whitman opens his poem with a conventional iambic pentameter line, as if to suggest the formal openings of the classic epics, before abandoning metrics for a free-flowing line with rhythms that shift and respond to the moment. Instead of invoking the muse to allow him to sing the epic song of war, rage, and distant journeys, Whitman becomes his own muse, singing himself and announcing that the subject of his epic will be himself. He sets out to expand the boundaries of the self to include, first, all fellow Americans, then the entire world, and ultimately the cosmos. When we come to see just how vast the self can be, what can we do but celebrate it by returning to it again and again?
Like most of the other poems, it too was revised extensively, reaching its final permutation in This epic sense of purpose, though, is coupled with an almost Keatsian valorization of repose and passive perception. The first of these is found in the sixth section of the poem. But they also signify a common material that links disparate people all over the United States together: grass, the ultimate symbol of democracy, grows everywhere. In the wake of the Civil War the grass reminds Whitman of graves: grass feeds on the bodies of the dead. Everyone must die eventually, and so the natural roots of democracy are therefore in mortality, whether due to natural causes or to the bloodshed of internecine warfare.
Whitman begins this poem by naming its subject — himself.
your always there for me
This poem had no title in the first edition of Leaves of Grass. The changes in the title are significant in indicating the growth of the meaning of the poem. There are three important themes: the idea of the self, the identification of the self with other selves, and the poet's relationship with the elements of nature and the universe. Houses and rooms represent civilization; perfumes signify individual selves; and the atmosphere symbolizes the universal self. The self is conceived of as a spiritual entity which remains relatively permanent in and through the changing flux of ideas and experiences which constitute its conscious life.
All rights reserved. Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our Whitman's particular style of writing has come to be known as "free verse," but not everyone agrees with this term.