Song of Myself Quotes by Walt Whitman
Song of Myself Section 1 by Walt Whitman: Summary and Analysis
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?
All rights reserved. Whitman states what he's going to do in the poem: celebrate himself. This practice might seem a little arrogant, but we'll just go with it. It turns out, that he's celebrating not only himself, but all of humanity. He lays out some of his ground rules: we're going to believe "assume" whatever he believes. At another level, we're going to "take on" whatever roles or personalities the speaker takes on.
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On Whitman's bicentennial, a contemporary poet finds a Whitmanic kinship with wonder, language, and the environment. In Leaves of Grass , , he celebrated democracy, nature, love, and friendship. - This poem celebrates the poet's self, but, while the "I" is the poet himself, it is, at the same time, universalized. He relates that he was "form'd from this soil," for he was born here, as were his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.
Walt Whitman The beginning of this poem establishes the Americanness in its subject, form and tone. Whitman begins the first section in a tone of boastful authority that underlies the tone of the whole poem. The reader is jolted into attention and is attracted towards the poet: "I celebrate myself, and sing myself'. The second line is even more daring and shocking; it gives an impression, at first, that the poet is almost presuming and conceited : "And what I assume, you shall assume".