Song of Myself

Initially, when I read the poem I thought Walt Whitman was very conceded and full of himself. The first line is, “I celebrate myself, and sing myself,” you can’t get more conceded than that. My group was assigned sections 3 and 4. Section 3 begins with Whitman looking at the world and noticing how many talkers there were but not enough people taking action. Then he talks a lot about procreation and then back to being self-conceded he admires himself in a bath. Section 4 Whitman reflects on the world again and discusses the trippers and askers. He discusses all the unimportant things in life like “dinner, dress, associates…” and things that are everyday problems. He relates both these sections to the idea of transcendentalism. For instance, in section 3 he talks about how optimistic he is about the world and transcendentalists think the world is full of good people. In section 4 he discusses his inner self. During both sections, he analyzes the world. In section 3, an important line includes, “But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.” This shows that he does not want to talk about his religious beliefs, unlike other transcendentalists we have looked at. Another important line in section 3 is, “That they turn from gazing after and down the road, And forthwith cipher and show me to a cent.” This is where he stresses the importance of living in the present and figuring out yourself. In section 4 Whitman writes, “These come to me days and nights and go from me again, But they are not the Me myself.” This is where he discusses the insignificant things in life and how he likes to watch the world. He also talks about how important it is to figure out your self-identity. Many words like, “talkers”, “trippers”, and “askers” show Whitman’s outlook on the world. Some things that still confuse me about, “Song of Myself” are his outlook on life because he has such a positive outlook on the world, yet he says some contradicting things in section 4 like all the things in the world that are superficial and don’t matter. I am also confused by his opinion on religion as well.

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