An analysis of poem “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman
The central place in the collection “Leaves of Grass” belongs to the poem “Song of Myself”, which has become a kind of poetic manifesto of the author. He began to write it back in 1855.
The hopes of the writer came true. From publication to publication, the poem has changed. In the first – it had no title and division into parts, in the second (1860) the title “Poem about Walt Whitman, an American” appeared, in the 1880 edition – “Walt Whitman”. The final title of the poem dates from 1881.
“Song of Myself” has no plot in the generally accepted meaning. But she, like the collection as a whole, contains a lyrical center: the movement of thoughts and feelings combines the image of a lyrical hero. The subject of the story – “I” – is close to the personality of the author of the book, but not identical to it. “I have one central image – a generalized human personality typed through himself,” the poet wrote. “But my book makes me, even makes it absolutely imperative for every reader to put themselves in the forefront, to become a living source, the main character who experiences every page, every feeling, every line.”
Whitman’s poetic “I” is constantly moving to other people and even to natural phenomena, and also has a general philosophical character. This is the “I” of all people combined and each person individually. “Walt Whitman” is a typed image that has incorporated all the characteristic features of Americans.
His “I” belongs to “all eras of all lands.” The subject of the study of the romanticists was a human person, but Whitman, who were close to their views, portrayed it on the other hand.
A look at the human body in the poetry of W. Whitman recalls the attitude of the ancient Greeks to it, which was not characteristic of the literary tradition of the 19th century. It is no accident that Puritan America did not take the poet. Romantics glorified the human soul, and he is the harmony of body and soul. In “Song of Myself” this topic occupies an important place. It is most clearly expressed in the cycle “Children of Adam.” “Song of Myself” – a poem unusually polyphonic. Its sound can be compared with the sound of a choir, orchestra and solo.
As it is impossible to describe the motives of a great piece of music, it is also impossible to do this with the Song of Myself.
The author’s democratism is striking, which was sympathetic to people of all professions, faiths and skin colors. He does not have one-word answers to the questions asked, and he cannot always explain what is happening around, but it is attractive.
Walt Whitman is a philosopher writer who through his poetic “I” comprehends the problems of nature, humanity, the universe. A characteristic feature of his lyrical perception is the desire to unite all possible connections and relationships in the world. The writer believed that “it is impossible to pick a plant without violating the integrity of everything.” His poetry calls for the renewal of disturbed harmony, for the preservation of the spiritual principles of human existence.
“All his writing power,” K. Chukovsky wrote, “is in an unusually vivid sensation of the infinite breadth of the Universe, which never left him.” The name of the poet has become a kind of symbol of American culture.