Analysis Of Walt Whitman 's Song Of Myself Essay

1385 Words Nov 1st, 2016 6 Pages
E pluribus unum—out of many, one. This is the motto of the United States of America, a nation that prides itself with democratic characteristics such as individual rights, community through patriotism, freedom, and equality for all. However, these concepts are just ideals as individualism and community contradict each other as well as freedom and equality, and historically America has had difficulty balancing these ideals. One of Walt Whitman poems preaches the possibility that these concepts can work together. “Song of Myself” is Whitman’s paean to his ideal of American democracy, an idea which balances, or attempts to balance, freedom with equality, individualism with community, a relentlessly inclusive, or as Whitman puts it, “absorptive” vision. Whitman demonstrates these themes in both the content and the form of the poem. Regarding the content of the poem, Whitman addresses the balance of individualism and community in order for a democratic nation to succeed. A community is made up of individuals, so while all of the community members share common characteristics, they also have to differ from each other so the community can grow and progress. If every individual thought the same way and did the same things, the community would become stagnant. In “Song of Myself,” Whitman takes this ideology and adapts it to poetry. Poetry is typically about either the poet and their thoughts and actions, or about one character’s journey through the poem and their thoughts and…

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