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Walt Whitman (stop at 6:50)


Walt Whitman Click to listen to audio clip Influence of Emerson Drew upon ideas from Emerson American Individualism; intuitive faith; spiritual potential; belief and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Walt Whitman (stop at 6:50)

Walt Whitman (stop at 650)
  • Click to listen to audio clip

Influence of Emerson
  • Drew upon ideas from Emerson
  • American Individualism intuitive faith
    spiritual potential belief and trust in
    democracy and common people
  • Whitman was, as he later said, simmering, and
    Emersons ideas brought him to a boil
  • A man that speaks for himself speaks for us all
  • I celebrate myself, And what I assume you shall

His poetry
  • Whitman argued poetry must embrace every aspect
    of life
  • Celebrated and criticized post war age
  • Valuable expression of American nationalism
  • Deplorable materialism that corrupts democratic
  • Language of his poetry was vivid and confusing
    with its rapid shifts from abstractions to
    personal revelations
  • Voice of poetry was democratic---individuals
    speak out freely and directly to the audience

  • New poetry
  • Discarded traditional form and structure (favored
    free verse)
  • Emphasizes all of the senses, especially touch

Leaves of Grass
  • On-going collection of poems throughout Whitmans
  • 1855 originally published expanded edition in
  • Some of the new poems reflected his experiences
    caring for wounded soldiers and his reaction to
    the assassination of Lincoln

How do Romantic writers reconcile individual
freedom with social responsibility?
  • Emerson rejected society
  • Melville questioned individualism
  • Whitman encompasses self mass in a universal

Song of Myself
  • What are 4 themes (one from each selection) that
    illustrate transcendental influences?
  • Pg. 353 (4, 6, 7, 8)

Ones-Self I Sing
  • What distinction does Whitman make in the 2nd
    stanza between physiology and physiognomy?
  • Who is Modern Man?
  • Is this still true today or different in some way?

I Hear America Singing
  • Listen to 40 Hour Week by Alabama
  • What is the tone of this poem?
  • What theme is being reinforced here?

Click to listen to audio clip
When I Heard the Learnd Astronomer
  • This poem reinforces an idea from Thoreau (and
    Emerson too).
  • What is it?

Whitmans War Poems
  • Whitman was an ardent abolitionist and a strong
    believer in the Union cause. When war came, he
    recognized it as a national tragedy that would
    soon outstrip the partisan aims of either side
    and would leave no aspect of life unscathed.

  • Beat! Beat! Drums!
  • A March in the Ranks Hard-Prest, and the Road
  • Reconciliation

Beat! Beat! Drums!
What is Whitmans attitude about the Civil War?
Cite words, phrases, and lines How do the first
lines of each stanza contrast with those that
follow them? (Structure of the words)---pg 360
A March in the Ranks Hard-Prest, and the Road
  • Reaction/Reflection
  • Does this poem apply to war today? The entire
    poem? Only sections? Consider the symbolism of
    the last line.
  • Pg 360 (1,2)

  • To Whitman, is reconciliation possible or even
    necessary? Cite lines.
  • Is this possible in wartime today?
  • What must man recognize once war is over?
  • What does this poem suggest about unity,
    Whitmans overall theme?
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