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Notes for the Week of April 20-22

by: Callisa Ruschmeyer

Notes for the Week of April 20-22 ENGL 2250 - 001

Marketplace > Auburn University > Foreign Language > ENGL 2250 - 001 > Notes for the Week of April 20 22
Callisa Ruschmeyer
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Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"
American Literature before 1865
Julia Tigner
Class Notes
american, Literature, auburn, Tigner, Walt Whitman
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Callisa Ruschmeyer on Friday April 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ENGL 2250 - 001 at Auburn University taught by Julia Tigner in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see American Literature before 1865 in Foreign Language at Auburn University.


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Date Created: 04/22/16
April 20-22 Walt Whitman, Song of Myself Transcendentalism  Explores relationship between Man and nature and the value of the mind and spirit  Placed great value on the self  Truth lies in our spontaneous, involuntary intuitions Stanza 1 (page 1100)  A celebration of oneself is different than bragging about oneself o Different than bragging- you are not showing others how great you are, but showing them how they can celebrate their own greatness o When you brag about oneself, you usually compare others to yourself- but Whitman does not do this- he values himself on the basis of himself o He celebrates himself and stresses acceptance o Love both the positive and negative qualities  Whitman's Argument- similarity within difference o We all have more in common with one another than we do have in differences o We all have nature in common  Sets up the argument that he is not praising himself, but everyone o Uses an individual stance o More in common than we have difference o Commonalities come from nature Stanza 6 (page 1103-1104)  Nature comes through us- everyone in a way can benefit from the grass  Grass is o The mothers' laps- connection to slavery; children being ripped from their mother's o Uncut hair of graves- rebirth; people are usually buried in the ground- they die into the grass; life and death both come from the grass; energy is not created or destroyed, it just gets absorbed by the earth…through the grass o Uniform hieroglyphic- goes back to the point that we are all equal; grass is grass for both blacks and whites; one strand of grass looks like a hieroglyphic- and many pieces of grass make a language o Child- grass produces more grass, like children can produce new ideas; a child is going to grow into an adult, just like grass continues to grow; child = produced child of vegetation o Flag of my disposition- grass is everywhere; he is everywhere (think universality) o Handkerchief of the lord- handkerchief can be personalized; it absorbs things just like the grass and the ground does; connection to old times where the handkerchief was used to flirt with ladies- it’s God's way of showing that He is all around His people  Scented gift and remembrance  How does grass tie into the idea that we all have more in common than different o similarity is our purpose, even though we are all individually different o Grass doesn't care where it gross; people shouldn’t care how they grow either - we all grow o Nature is for everyone Stanza 4 (1102)  Line 66-70: sexual individuality  Nature can be physical and sexual Stanza 7 (1104)  "Has any one supposed it lucky to be born?"  If you are more positive, you are happy to be born; but the negative side is that the people do not see the beauty in the small things  No two persons ambitions are alike  Emphasizing that death can be beautiful as well- being born is not the greatest thing ever Stanza 9 (page 1106)  He enjoys all of these aspects of life and nature  Rolling in the grass- maybe sexual; but also- children normally roll in the grass o Children are closest to nature- they have not been consumed by materialism yet  Whitman has a heart of a child Stanza 11 (page 1107)  During this time, it is weird for a woman to just stare at men naked  Also adds to the argument that this piece represents Whitman's homosexuality  Significance with the man the woman is interested in- he is the least attractive o She looks more at the man as a whole, not just his appearance o "the homeliest" Random Notes  Poem is written in free verse o No meter o No rhyme Narrator- single individual Narrator- all collective  Whitman's type of narration Identify tone and describe 3 ways in which he create it Stanza 32  Collective Narrator- he wishes people were more like animals; be more pure and closer to nature; uses animals as an example to emulate; for all- as humans, indirectly, we should just take what comes at us  Tone- religious undertone o Repetition so readers remember o Repetition is also key for instruction Stanza 33  1126-27 o Collective Narrator  New line, new location  Paints picture that you are part of nature in some way- you can find yourself somewhere in nature  Through imagery, he creates inclusion o Tone- thoughtful/yearning (celebrates the world through his imagery)  "Where the panther walks…"  "fields where people  1128 o Collective Narrator  Talks about both the pastoral lands as well as the urban city o Tone- positive- celebratory (due to imagery)  Uses that to draw people to all make connections to one another  In awe about everything around him  Very happy with the way the world is around him  1129 o Collective Narrator  Describes several different people- to bring everyone together  There is a place for everyone o Tone- fascinated by everyone  We all have our own thoughts and hatred- but everyone has thoughts and hatred  We all have differences, that is what we have in common  1130 o Collective Narrator  "I am man…I suffered…I was there  Uses this to add creditability to himself so people take him more seriously  Commonality through differences o Tone- prideful; sure of himself-- contradiction from the other stanzas-- not as celebratory  He is an independent companion- I am happy with people or alone… "I am a free companion…"  Alone by the fire  With someone else in their bed  "I turn the bridegroom out of bed and stay with the bride myself…"  "I go hunting polar furs and the seal…leaping chasms with a pike-pointed staff…clinging to topples of brittle and blue"  "I am a free companion…I bivouac by invading watchfires"  1131-32 o Collective Narrator  Acts as a poster child for all of the suffering that slaves must endure o Tone- negative  Slavery is still an issue  Tries to appeal to the emotions of readers for them to sympathize with the slaves  By suggesting that he is the "hounded slaves"  He includes slaves- who are still property- in the collective audience  Slaves are not discriminated against by Whitman  Those marginalized within society are included by Whitman Stanza 34  Collective Narrator o Tells a story of the jet-black sunrise o Acknowledges other people o Identifies himself with both the alive and the dead  Tone- dark and morbid o He is dethatched from the sunrise  Sunrise- the Alamo- in which Whitman was not a soldier at  Critiques what happened at the Alamo  Americans were supposed to surrender, but the Mexican's slaughtered all of our troops  Whitman supports the Americans- gives them compliments and sort of tells their heroic tale o Describes a story about men being murdered o Burning of bodies o He is very descriptive Stanza 48  Collective Narrator o We are unique as people o Don't rely on God to be different- you should find yourself more important than him o Move from Puritanism to Transcendentalism  Tone- straightforward o "I am greater than god…" o Not celebrating uniformity- similar in our differences Stanza 52  Hawk metaphor- nature telling him to be quite because his ideas are so hard to understand  "I stop somewhere waiting for you"- he wants his readers to be in the same mindset as him, and he will wait for them to get there o He knows he is misunderstood o There will come a time where people will agree with his mindset  Tone finishes as hopeful


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