Symbolism In Whitman's Song Of Myself By Walt Whitman

Superior Essays
During the Poem “Song of Myself” Walt Whitman examines the complex idea of belonging in society by using sly commentary and symbols alike, while writing with a seemingly egotistical style. This piece was one of the twelve poems from the original collection of “Leaves of Grass” published in 1855, which was shortly before the Civil War started. This was a time of despair for Whitman because he was living in a fractured union. During this piece Whitman used many evocative situations to capture the readers imagination. The piece was written with mid-level diction, yet each line is crammed with significant detail. Whitman describes many issues that belong to society by telling a story about his own struggles with life as well as trying to belong …show more content…
The first symbol during “Song of Myself” by Whitman can be found in the first line. Whitman said, “I celebrate myself” Whitman seemed nothing more than arrogant at first glance. Yet if you continue to read throughout the piece you will discover he was celebrating not only himself, but also all of humanity. Hesitant, Whitman was not, as he displayed his ground rules to the audience in the second line by saying, “And what I assume you shall assume.” By this he means his audience should take on the roles and personalities he takes on. This was an extremely clever use of diction by Whitman to underplay the idea of belonging to his audience. During the third line Whitman writes with great passion to get closer to his audience. The third line of the piece states, “For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” This single line by Whitman establishes the theme for the entire poem. He selflessly compares every atom in his body to every atom in the body of his audience with hopes to become one with his audience. Walt Whitman displays himself as no better than anyone else, even from the most basic unit of life on Earth. He shows the audience that we are all the same no matter how much we differ in appearance, property, and culture. This line was another major example of the sly commentary Whitman used to convey his desire to belong. Through this text Whitman confirmed his belief that …show more content…
Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson had significantly different reasons of why they wanted to belong; yet they both shared a burning passion to fit in with their societies. Whitman simply wanted to fit into his society. When he came to recognition that he could not do so he then accepted his differences and embraced them. Similar to Whitman, Dickinson also longed to fit in with the world around her. Though in contrast to Whitman, Dickinson found herself to become spiteful and isolated from the society she longed to be apart of so deeply. Dickinson seemed to want to oppose those against her and relate to the individuals that supported her. In modern day society individualism is considered to be socially unacceptable. Those who show individualism are usually considered to be “weird” in the world we live in presently. Our modern society influences individuals to be like everyone else. If you refuse to follow the current trends in our current society, then you are likely to find yourself isolated as Emily Dickinson was. On the other hand, Whitman found delight in his individualism. He learned to enjoy the little things in life and decided to stray from the trends. Walt Whitman wanted to change the society he was apart of so that everyone could belong. All in all, we should stop making such a great effort to belong in our modern society as Walt Whitman did. I connote that we make a push to live by

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