Analysis Of Walt Whitman 's Song Of Myself Essay

1021 Words Nov 23rd, 2016 5 Pages
Though the meaning of “America” has changed over the years, “America” once meant the pursuit of a simplistic yet unique dream. Walt Whitman demonstrates this in section 10 of his “Song of Myself” poem. In this section, he takes on the identity of multiple American people. Among these are a rugged mountain man, the captain of a Yankee clipper ship, the viewer of a marriage between a trapper and a Native American, and one who shelters a runaway slave. These people are all different, which serves to showcase the differences of the American dream among different types of people. The differences of class represent differences in purpose, which is believed to be a fundamental value of Americanism. When Whitman harbored the slave, he felt it his duty to nourish him, to “[lead] him in and [assure] him” (Whitman 30). Although he was above the slave in terms of hierarchy when he served as the protector, Whitman still viewed the slave as valuable and did not want to see him diminish. This is significant, as the poem was written around the Civil War, in a time when slaves were not always seen as even human. It was as though his dream was to help. Additionally, each of Whitman’s identities was exposed to different aspects of American life, and therefore different aspects of American dreaming. The Yankee clipper captain likely had a different upbringing than the rugged mountain man, though both were in search of one common thing -- a simplistic American dream of happiness. The mountain…

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