Blog 17: Song of Myself

So far, I’m not a particularly big fan of Walt Whitman. I’m sure his Blades of Grass has many solid messages in it, but I just wish it were in the form of a standard book. I find it rather tedious and annoying to try and decipher every line before I actually know what he is talking about. But then again, I guess a natural part of being a poem is containing cryptic lines to confuse generations of high school students. My group was assigned sections three and nine. The first thing we noticed was the stark contrast between the two sections in terms of length. Section three may be the longest of the sections that were available, while section nine may be the shortest. We decided to just jump right into analyzing section three. The first stanza made us think the assignment was going to be a breeze. We quickly figured out that Whitman was talking about his focus on the present when he says things such as “But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.” Every sentence after this first stanza seemed to take triple the time to figure out. We have noticed that his basic philosophy made him into a sort of raging optimist. This comes out in some of section three’s lines, like when he says that there “will never be any more perfection than there is now,” though that can also be looked at as a negative statement. Another line that shows this optimism is when he says “Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not my soul.” I would say that one of the most important lines in our sections is right at the beginning. The whole first stanza, in which he talks about hearing the talkers talking, sort of sets the tone for the rest of the section, even though it was the easiest to dissect, as mentioned earlier. Some of the hardest lines to figure out are at the end of section three. We have our own ideas about what the bed-fellow line is all about, but we do know that it is not about Walt Whitman having a one night stand. We are hoping that knowing that will help us get questioned a little less by the class when it is time to present. Here’s to hoping we don’t get torn up too much.

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