After discussing all of the sections, my reaction to this work was that it was extremely powerful. I believe that it is so powerful because Whitman gives things deeper meanings that are easy to understand. That makes it such an influential piece because everyone can understand what he is trying to say, and they can apply his thoughts to their own every day lives. This poem definitely has a way of impacting every single person who reads it.
My favorite section was probably section 14. I really liked it because it really highlighted the facts that are true to the lives of everyone from the past, present, and will be true in the future. It speaks of how, as humans, we are all the same. We are all made up of the same things and we all follow the same laws of nature. It also says how by studying nature, being in and being a part of nature can help us grow as a person. Lastly, he discusses how trying to become a better person was a gamble but the returns back to him were well worth it. He loved everyone, and everyone loved him.
I completely understand why this poem is referred to as one of the most influential in American Literature. It will always be relevant, and it will always have an effect on people. Some important elements that relate to our society today is when he refers to the trippers and askers. These people will exist forever. They will trip you up, question, cause issues, overreact, etc. But how you handle these things and these types of people reflect on you as a person. You can either let it destroy you or let it push you to become better. This poem also talks about how you can’t tell or force anyone to become a better person. To become a better person, the person has to truly want to and they will have to work for it. These elements will be relevant and influential forever.
I still have some questions about this work. What is Whitman’s answer to the people who still ask, “who am I”, “why am I here”, etc? Does everything in life have a meaning? Are there disadvantages to trying to be a better person? What does he say to the people who want to become better but feel that there are too many things tripping them up to be successful?
If I had to rate this poem, I’d give it a 10/10. I think it’s very well written, extremely relevant, and will be influential forever. It is easily the best and most impactful poem that I’ve read so far. It’s also easy for anyone and everyone to understand. Lastly, there is something in this poem that everyone in the world can relate to and become better from reading.