… - A child said, What is the grass? This brings us to #44 of "Song of Myself." "Song of Myself" is a poem by Walt Whitman (1819–1892) that is included in his work Leaves of Grass. So do we, as living beings. Grass is the central symbol of “Song of Myself,” and it represents the divinity contained in all living things. In Whitman’s poetry, symbolism and sermons are used to present important subjects. A fine blade of grass also has its inherent beauty and wonderfulness of form. The second part of section six focuses on grass as the “uncut hair of grass” Whitman imagines the deceased humans from which grass grows. Right away I find it intriguing that Whitman devotes an entire section of “Song of Myself” to answering the question of a child, especially a question that would normally be passed over by most adults. Yet Whitman is being entirely poetic saying “All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses” but I cannot help but wonder what Whitman knew of the scientific recycling of energy. The way that Whitman speaks about matter never disappearing just being reused and reformed feels almost scientific. Office Hours: m/w, 12-2 & by apt. Many blades of grass, all similar in shape, grow together to form the mat of grass beneath our feet. This is the same with people. It has been credited as "representing the core of Whitman's poetic vision." Whitman is celebrating himself, and by extension all humans, as he celebrates the blade of grass that is causing him to think deeply. He believed in equality. He is satisfied and says so, “I am satisfied – I see, dance, laugh, sing.…”. Grass is also a metaphor for democracy: one blade of grass is weak, but united with many others, becomes stronger and more significant. Whitman talks of all that one can worry about. Part 17. "Song of Myself' is a good example of the stylistic features of Leaves of Grass. Within this section Whitman tries to grasp “What is the grass?” spawning from a child’s question. When the man ponders the blade of grass he is thinking about man (exemplified by the blade) and his purpose on the earth. Grass in “Song of Myself”. This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is, This the common air that bathes the globe. Already a member? fetching it to me with full. He recycled his own poems in version after version of Leaves of Grass; he has what some have called a compost-based poetics, which captures but his interest in and faith in regeneration, and the ways in which this relates to his “composing” / “composting” poetic method. understanding of this poem, as of all of Leaves of Grass, is the concept of self (typified by Walt Whitman) as both individual and universal." "Song of Myself" is a very long celebration of the all-encompassing persona that Whitman creates in Leaves of Grass and his unconventional, democratic brand of poetry. The man in the poem is “…observing a spear of summer grass.” This causes him to ponder the human condition and the thoughts and actions of human beings. A child asks the narrator “ What is the grass? Grass strives to survive daily and eventually meets its end. Each leaf or blade of grass possesses its own distinct beauty, and together the blades form a beautiful unified whole, an idea Whitman explores in the sixth section of “Song of Myself.” Multiple leaves of grass thus symbolize democracy, another instance of a beautiful whole composed of individual parts. fetching it to me with full - The Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization fostering an appreciation for contemporary poetry and supporting American poets. The clock indicates the … He once wrote to Horace Traubel, his biographer: "I sometimes think the Leaves is only a language experiment." What are some examples of metaphor in the poem "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman. There will always be grass. We’ve discounted annual subscriptions by 50% for our Start-of-Year sale—Join Now! In "Song of Myself", what is the speaker's fifth answer as to what the grass is, to which he currently believes? https://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/whitman/themes/. Grass in particular functions as metaphor for humanity and the common human experience. Our summaries and analyses are written by experts, and your questions are answered by real teachers. Whitman notes “… the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun.” This is what spears of grass do each morning – awake and meet the sun. Although, he seems to be channeling ideas of Hinduism or Buddhism instead of typical Western religions. © 2021 Walt Whitman in American and Beyond. And one final note: Whitman is, indeed, a poetic recycler. How Whitman chooses to answer the question is even more puzzling. Plants in general are symbols of growth, regeneration, decay, and the beauty of nature. Whtiman’s guesses range widely from “the flag of my disposition” to “the handkercheif of the Lord” to “a uniform hieroglyphic.” Interestingly, Whitman ties all of the guesses back to the human condition at least in some vague way. In almost all copies of the first edition of “Song of Myself” (1855), the period at the very end of the poem is missing; only the first few copies off the press had the period, and then the loose piece of type fell off. Are you a teacher? We are all part of the human family. This poem is in the public domain. Sign up now, Latest answer posted March 13, 2014 at 7:58:19 PM, Latest answer posted March 15, 2018 at 11:00:01 AM, Latest answer posted August 27, 2019 at 12:21:11 AM, Latest answer posted May 13, 2019 at 2:50:59 PM, Latest answer posted October 21, 2015 at 12:24:05 AM. Leaves of Grass: Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” “Song of Myself,” by Walt Whitman is a meditative poem combining his religious and political ideals. The section of “Song of Myself” that stands out to me in particular is the sixth section where Whitman discusses grass. People must carry on and create and produce, and do the things they are accustomed to doing, despite challenges. While “Song of Myself” is crammed with significant detail, there are three key episodes that must be examined. 8 But the symbolism is, I believe, less obscure, less dependent on erudition, and more definitely dependent on the poet's actual words than is evident by Mr. Stovall's interpretation. The first of these is found in the sixth section of the poem. By the time Whitman had shaped Leaves of Grass into its final structure in 1881, he left the poem (its lines now grouped into 52 sections) in a lead position, preceded only by the epigraph-like cluster "Inscriptions" and the programmatic "Starting from Paumanok." The most important and memorable moment of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” is portrayed in section “6”, when a child with his hands full of grass asked the question: “What is the grass?” This question institutes the central symbol of the poem and the response to this question lifts the veil on the meaning of the entire poem: human society, the cycle of growth and death and principally the … Whitman's style reflects his individualism. Whitman uses the metaphor of grass in the sixth section of “Songs of Myself” to try and explain the democratic self. What is known I strip away…I launch all men and women forward with me into the unknown. Leaves of Grass > Walt Whitman: Song of Myself, Part 17 ; Cite. The suggestions of equality between all people are not blatant and are not abundant in “Song of Myself” but they do exist, showing that Whitman was not as neutral as most readers are led to believe. This is definitely alluded to here, regardless of one’s belief system. What are some themes and symbols in "Song of Myself," with specific details? It seems that Whitman is relating the life of a blade of grass to a human life. Song of Myself, 17. ” and the narrator is forced to explore his own use of symbolism and his inability to break things down to essential principles. For a century and a half, readers believed that this absence of … The Paper Towns quotes below all refer to the symbol of “Song of Myself”. Life, in its complexities, as well as mundane acts, continues on its survival plan, just like leaves of grass. To go even further, metaphor is used to compare himself to the cosmos in the 24th section. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each … eNotes.com will help you with any book or any question. Grass represents all humans, collectively and individually, and what each faces in life. The words " per- Right off the bat, in this section of “Leaves of Grass”, Whitman alludes to the fact that we come from the dust of the earth. In section 6 of Song of Myself, how does the image of grass represent the cycle of life and death? Although no traditional form is apparent, the logical manner in which the poet returns to his image of grass shows that “Song of Myself” was planned to have an order and unity of idea and image. Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now. This blade or spear of grass is amongst an innumerable host of leaves of grass. An analysis of the most important parts of the poem Song of Myself by Walt Whitman, written in an easy-to-understand format. Words, for Whitman, have both a "natural" and a "spiritual" significance. In this paper I would like to concentrate on one of his most important poems: Song of Myself - an exploration of the author himself, nature and his surroundings - especially the symbolism of “grass” in it. In the first edition, this poem is not divided into numbered sections, and it ends with the word "you" and no punctuation. Educators go through a rigorous application process, and every answer they submit is reviewed by our in-house editorial team. Nature is an emblem of God, for God's eternal presence in it is evident everywhere. Grass is the key to the secrets of man's relationship with the Divine. Whitman goes on to attempt to answer this question all though he makes it clear that he is unsure of the answer. I like how you approach this famous passage by noting how cool it is that he spends time answering the question of a child. Section 1: The speaker states his intention to look at a "spear" of summer grass. The section of “Song of Myself” that stands out to me in particular is the sixth section where Whitman discusses grass. It is a representation of this grass, as well as distinct and separate (as an individual blade) from this multitude. In Whitman’s poetry, symbolism and sermons are used to present important subjects. Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Plot Summary of “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman. Whitman is satisfied with what he sees of himself – internally and physically. Spears of grass arise from the dirt. Song of Myself, 6 [A child said, What is the grass?] In Song of Myself, Walt Whitman uses grass as a recurring motif that evokes several ideas: ease, nature, nation, universality, death, cyclicality,.... See full answer below. Quite simply, Whitman's poem is an unabashed celebration all about himself, exemplifying the Transcendental Movement to a "T." The poem had no title when first published in his collection, Leaves of Grass (1855). This includes, among others listed, inventions, societies, dress, associates, love of others, sickness of loved ones, and lack of money. There will always be people living; “…the book-keeper counts at his desk, the shoemaker waxes his thread,…”. Children, in romantic poetry, often embody a sort of pre-fall innocence, so in that sense there is some precedent to taking such an inquiry seriously. Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates. The difference being that the grass carries on unworried, while people do not have that luxury. Secondly, in section 16 Whitman uses identification to claim that he is all things both living and nonliving. The little one sleeps in its cradle, I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away flies … The grass is itself a child, always emerging anew from the realm of death into a new life; it is a kind of coded writing that seems to speak equality since it grows among the … Man is created of the dust of the earth and Whitman states in this poem that, “My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air, …” He sees some similarities here between flora and human beings. Grass is one of a number of plants described by Whitman in this poem. 74 George, Room 201 Who are the experts?Our certified Educators are real professors, teachers, and scholars who use their academic expertise to tackle your toughest questions. By greenal on January 25, 2016 in Uncategorized. So does man. The significance of Grass, in American poet Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”, as part of his epic work “Leaves of Grass” is that a single blade of grass represents an individual in society. Prof. Vander Zee | Spring 2016 | ENGL 450.01, Warring Connections and Contradictions: The Poetry of Yusef Komunyakaa and Walt Whitman, The Langston Hughes and Walt Whitman Connection, 24 Hours of Tweeting Walt: Walt Whitman & Our Modern Connectivity. We are also distinct, unique individuals of this group. Within this section Whitman tries to grasp “What is the grass?” spawning from a child’s question. Top subjects are Literature, Business, and History. A child said, What is the grass? vanderzeeal@cofc.edu ©2021 eNotes.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved, This image has been Flagged as inappropriate. What is the meaning of section 52 in "Song of Myself" by Whitman? Song of Myself Summary. Yes, Whitman is a poet of tangents, indeed; his poetry often grows rhizomatically, like the grass–not well structured like a tree, but dispersive and varied like grass. All Rights Reserved. Whitman uses the grass as a metaphor to imply that all people are connected. This passage also seems to be religious in ways by focusing on death and referencing the Lord. There are almost as mean blades of grass in a field as tangents in Whitman’s poetry. Whitman continues the metaphor of seeing grass as the rebirth of the dead into the cyclical nature of life. People must face life differently than unthinking grass and deal with issues. Symbolism in Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they are not original with me, Learn about the different symbols such as Shorelines in Leaves of Grass and how they contribute to the plot of the book. On the other hand, his soul is invited to gaze at the greenery of grass with him. Walt Whitman Song Of Myself Analysis. From the title of “Leaves of Grass” it is obvious that grass has some significance to Whitman. The significance of Grass, in American poet Walt Whitman ’s “ Song of Myself ”, as part of his epic work “ Leaves of Grass ” is that a single blade of grass represents an individual in society. Whitman describes a child coming to him and asking him what is the grass. The nature and significance of grass unfold the themes of death and immortality, for grass is symbolic of the ongoing cycle of life present in nature, which assures each man of his immortality. Top subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences. Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself is a poem which attempts to liberate both the poet and reader from the restraints of convention by thoroughly exploring and emphasizing transcendentalist beliefs of a common soul or spiritual state, known only in an individual’s intuition, which encompasses and goes beyond the materialistic and physical world. Leaves of Grass: Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” “Song of Myself,” by Walt Whitman is a meditative poem combining his religious and political ideals. It has been credited as "representing the core of Whitman's poetic vision." A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics. Title: The title of the book in which "Song of Myself" appears, Leaves of Grass, is a pun on the meaning of "leaves" as the green things on plants, and also as the pages of a book. Updated February 28, 2017 | Infoplease Staff. He makes this a hopeful message by saying that death is actually “luckier” than life. Song of Myself Section 6 by Walt Whitman: Summary and Analysis By the sixth section, Whitman has established the setting, mood, and tone, and has also introduced the basic themes of the poem. In section #44 of, "Song of Myself," Whitman's first stanza begins: "It's time to explain myself…let us stand up. ... it is not surprising to find plants turn up in a poetry collection named Leaves of Grass. He makes several guesses as to what grass might be or represent. Grass, so-to-speak, greets each day and exists and functions. From the title of “Leaves of Grass” it is obvious that grass has some significance to Whitman. This symbol is most commonly found in the sixth paragraph of the poem, in which a child asks the narrator what the grass is and he doesn’t really have an answer himself, but tries to respond anyway … Log in here. The little one sleeps in its cradle, I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away flies. What is the meaning of section 1 in the poem "Song of Myself"? "Song of Myself" portrays (and mythologizes) Whitman's poetic birth and the journey into knowing launched by that "awakening." And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves What metaphors does the speaker use to describe what grass means to him? 'I celebrate myself,' declares Walt Whitman's sprawling poem 'Song of Myself.' Walt Whitman: Song of Myself, Part 17. His explanation, he admits, is incomplete. My thoughts are full of tangents coming from just one section of “Song of Myself” which as a poem was filled with many thought provoking sections. The soil begets a multitude of grass; the soil begot human beings through a creative act. As mundane acts, continues on its survival plan, just like Leaves of grass, despite challenges at! Its complexities, as well as distinct and separate ( as an individual blade ) from this multitude ``... A poetry collection named Leaves of grass represent the cycle of life in general are symbols of growth,,... Just like Leaves of grass and how they contribute to the cosmos the... 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Exists and functions down to essential principles and his inability to break things down to essential principles Whitman 1819–1892...

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