My initial impressions and reactions? Impressions were that it was confusing and my reaction was basically “ugh”. Whitman’s devotion to a Transcendentalist philosophy affects his writing greatly. Whitman links many aspects he talks about himself and his transformation into a better person to Transcendentalism. Some of the most important lines from my section are:
I am enamour’d of growing out-doors,
Of men that live among cattle or taste of the ocean or woods,
Of the builders and steerers of ships and the wielders of axes and
mauls, and the drivers of horses,
I can eat and sleep with them week in and week out.
They are important to developing theme because he first says that if you simply go out into nature that you’ll grow which is with the philosophy that we are linked to nature and can learn from it. He then lists occupations of people who live in the middle of nature like cattle raisers, fishermen, woodsman and he also lists occupations that try to control to control nature like builders, ship steerers, axe wielders (lumberjacks), and horse carriage drivers and says that since they all deal with nature that he is like them. Some of the other important lines are:
The sharp-hoof’d moose of the north, the cat on the house-sill, the
chickadee, the prairie-dog,
The litter of the grunting sow as they tug at her teats,
The brood of the turkey-hen and she with her half-spread wings,
I see in them and myself the same old law.
They are important because the animals he list cover all of America and the sow and turkey-hen are displaying mother like qualities. He is saying that even though we view these animals as just animals, that they display qualities that we display and therefor we are linked to each other and nature. Some of the difficulties I had with the work was understanding why he was listing the animals and what they represented. (I did this blog late, I won’t hide that fact but it did confuse me and my group about why he chose them before we presented) The easiest part was the part on the occupations with nature.