Walt Whitman "Song of Myself" 1855/1881

Mind Map by , created over 6 years ago

Early American Literature 1820-1865 Mind Map on Walt Whitman "Song of Myself" 1855/1881, created by meg.weal on 04/29/2013.

Created by meg.weal over 6 years ago
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Walt Whitman "Song of Myself" 1855/1881
1 Transmitting Experiences
1.1 Reference to Emerson's "transparent eyeball"
2 Symbolism
2.1 Image of the Woman
2.1.1 Emerson's transparent eyeball Woman/Whitman is distant enough from situation to have perspective, whilst also being within the situation enough to have full knowledge. 29th bather is INVISIBLE "An unseen hand also pass'd over their bodies"
2.1.2 Sexual tones of section Trancendence Moment of two becoming one but still being separate
2.1.3 Begins with woman's voice "Twenty-eight years of womanly life and all so lonesome" changes to Whitman's voice "Where are you off to, lady? for I see you" Homoeroticism The beards of the young mean glisten'd with wet, it ran from their long/hair,/Little streams pass'd over their bodies." Importance of enjambment - break between "long" and "hair" Sexual tension/suspense OR representation of all humans coming together in communion
2.2 Image of the Slave
2.2.1 Later turn to equality "The bride unrumples her white dress.../The opium-eater reclines.../The prostitute draggles her shawl.../The President holding a cabinet" Placing of characters together suggests a equal and democratic society. Whitman talks for all of society/ Uses himself as a vessel for society "I understand the large heart of heroes" "I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the/wounded person Is this an outrageous & skimmed representation? Establishing boundaries between self & the world
2.2.2 Brotherly attitude
2.2.3 Does not blatantly refer to wider issues Anecdotal & Democratic
2.2.4 "The runaway slave" "The" not "A" suggests no specificity
2.2.5 "I had him sit next me at table, my fire-lock lean'd in the corner" Abrupt ending to the tale Unresolved Real or Made up?? Is fire arm protection against or for slave?? Unanswered questions
3 The Individual/The Self
3.1 "I celebrate myself, and sing myself"
3.1.1 Use of the name Walt Whitman but still professes to be a character of Whitman's poem. Continuous use of "I"
3.2 Democracy
3.2.1 Individual is necessary for a democratic society to flourish Heavily links to Thoreau's "Resistance to Civil Government" "It divides the individual, separating the diabolical in him from the divine."
3.2.2 Grass image (section 6) "Or I guess the grass is itself a child.../Sprouting alike in broad zines and narrow zones,/Growing among black folks as among white." Nature grows anywhere God is prominent in Nature - God as an image of democracy Regeneration and life cycle in Nature Whitman has to explain the symbol inability to break things down to essential principles Graves of Civil War "I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young and old men?...and the offspring taken soon/out of their laps Regeneration
3.3 Poem begins in the middle of Whitman's life - trying figure out for himself?

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