Harmony in Diversity: Unveiling Connections and Urging Unity in Walt Whitman's 'Song of Myself' - Free Paper

Published: 2023-12-20
Harmony in Diversity: Unveiling Connections and Urging Unity in Walt Whitman's 'Song of Myself' - Free Paper
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Writing Poem Literature
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 992 words
9 min read

Walt Whitman’s early notebook writing that became the poem “Song of Myself" explores the overall outlook of human experience. Whitman explores a situation involving his desire to stand "between" the master and the slave. The odd thing with the poem is that the speaker in the poem is Walt Whitman himself. In most poems, the speaker in the poem is rarely referred to by the poet's name. However, in the "Song of Myself," this is inevitable because, in Section 24, the author unexpectedly mentions, “Walt Whitman, an American,” to refer to himself as the speaker in the poem (Miller 17). As presented in the poem, the speaker is a more complicated form of Walt Whitman because he has done extraordinary things and traveled places, which are achievements that the real Whitman has not. The character refers to his being a "kosmos” to indicate that he is a whole universe that attracts everything and everyone (Miller 17).

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The character understands what everyone feels in society, and his empathy is incomparable to that of the real Whitman. The two best friends to Whitman are two persons that live within him and include “Me Myself” and “Soul” (Miller 59). The two personas do not have a clear boundary, and Whitman speaks for them but stands apart from them, which indicates the desire to stand "between." He consistently refers to the audience using the informal "you" thus, suggesting that he wants to relate closely with the reader. Whitman's persona connects people by demonstrating the importance of unity, identifying the horrific nature of the darker aspects of humanity, and building an empathetic and close relationship with the reader.

Whiteman’s persona connects people through the creation of a sense of connectedness and unity with the audience. The speaker emphasizes the critical role of inclusivity in society while discouraging judging and segregating others. In achieving this motive, the speaker starts by identifying himself through the title using "I" for his persona and juxtaposing it with "you" to refer to the audience (Miller 2). As part of the process of identifying himself and writing with the assumption that he is connected with the audience, Whitman can identify himself with a wide variety of places, people, and things throughout the poem, which emphasizes the theme of connection. An example of the speaker's focus and emphasis on connection is in the first section where he writes "For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you” (Miller 1). The speaker means that all beings and things in the world are equal by way of their creation using the same material, which connects them further emphasizing the theme of connection.

The speaker also addresses the audience in Whitman's voice to create a connection through the depiction of the darker elements of humanity as horrible. Whitman creatively uses language to indicate the dark elements of humanity, as well as imagery in the form of imprisonment. In a better part of the poem, the speaker identifies and experiences a wide range of types of places, things, and people with the aim of understanding them by absorbing them. Such a purpose is indicated in Section 15, where he writes that he spent time through all these experiences to weave his song. However, the speaker later mentions the savage and violent nature of war, which makes him sound as if he is overcome. In the earlier sections of the poem, the speaker would speak to the audience with empathy or would merely reflect on his experiences. To indicate the dark forces, he depicts a situation where he proposes that he is possessed by outlawed forces that lead to suffering. As such, he is occupied by the darker aspects of humanity. From this point of view, Whitman suggests that these darker elements of human existence are terrific, but they have an effect on everyone. Although he is humiliated and shunned by the dark forces of humanity, he maintains a confident and celebratory tone to identify and connect with everyone. As such, even if he is not enjoying his identity at the part where he is disgraced, he still sees the need to unite and connect with every other human being.

The language used to indicate the dark forces of humanity also creates urgency for the human race to unite and fight the horrific occurrences. Whitman uses confinement and imprisonment to attract and unite the readers against the dark forces. The use of language involving words such as “handcuffed”, “prison”, and “barred” triggers emotions of being imprisoned. He indicates that he is chained to the dark forces that possess him and that he cannot break free without the help of others. Such is a suggestion of unity and connection to help him and others break from the dark aspects of humanity.

The speaker also uses his persona to build an empathetic and close relationship with the reader, which inspires connection and unity. Setting up the speaker with reference to "I" and juxtaposing it with "you" to refer to the audience gives the poem an individualized emphasis where the speaker addresses the audience. Speaking directly through his character and to the audience enables Whitman to plead and show compassion about the nature of humanity. For instance, he uses ethos to appeal to the audience by showing his empathy when he says, “I plead for my brothers and sisters” (Miller 43). Referring to himself and the audience implies the overall purpose of uniting. The close connection between the speaker and the audience helps in the achievement of a form of collaborative power where they aim at attaining unity and connection with the aim of achieving a common objective. According to the speaker, connection, and unity will enable them to collectively fight against the dark forces of humanity and their impacts on society.

Works Cited

Miller, Edwin. Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself". Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1989.

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Harmony in Diversity: Unveiling Connections and Urging Unity in Walt Whitman's 'Song of Myself' - Free Paper. (2023, Dec 20). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.com/essays/harmony-in-diversity-unveiling-connections-and-urging-unity-in-walt-whitmans-song-of-myself-free-paper

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