Thursday, January 9, 2020

Whitmans Interpretation of Emerson Essay - 902 Words

Whitmans Interpretation of Emerson Walt Whitman was able to take the spark of an idea from Ralph Waldo Emerson and tend, nurture, and support it until the spark grew into a huge flame of something surprising and original - new American poetry. Whitman did not only learn from Emerson, but he also took Emersons ideas and expanded them into something much more encompassing. Whitman was able to use Emersons principles that are outlined in The Poet to springboard into something more expansive than Emerson was able to describe or create. Emerson states in his 15th principle in The Poet that there is no fact in nature that does not carry the whole sense of nature. To elaborate this claim Emerson states, the distinctions which we†¦show more content†¦What Whitman does, though, is reverse Emersons logic. He takes simple, innocent images in nature and makes them shockingly sexual. Whitman sets the sexual tone stating, Firm masculine colter it shall be you! and he continues on stating simple natural images that now seem to represent something more sexual, (Whitman Section 24 Line 34). The maple tree has trickling sap, the brook is sweaty, and the wind has soft-tickling genitals,(Lines 41-45). All of these natural images serve to represent something very different from what they commonly do. Therefore, the images are symbols in nature that the poet, Whitman, gives meaning to. While this use of symbols illustrates what Emerson discusses in principle 15, Whitman takes the power of what he can do with natural symbols further than Emerson does. Similarly, Whitman takes Emersons principle of nature symbols and expands them beyond being used only in nature. Whitman takes the idea of using parts of nature as unique symbols and transfers this idea into humanity. More specifically, Whitman is able to go beyond Emersons idea of nature as a symbol and make humans symbols. Most obvious is the way that Whitman uses himself as a symbol of all of humanity. He sees the ideas of humanity coming from him and states, Through me many long dumb voices†¦Through me forbidden voices,(Whitman Section 24 Line 12 20). He says that he is a kosmos - or he is a universe,Show MoreRelatedWalt Whitman Poetry Essay1685 Words   |  7 PagesWhitman’s Contribution to American Identity Walt Whitman’s portfolio of poetry was a crucial staple in the American identity. Whitman used his poetry to contribute to the evolution of self-reliance, human freedom and concepts of democracy. These influences can be seen throughout all of his poems, but more relevantly in â€Å"Song of Myself†, â€Å"For You O Democracy† and in â€Å"Live Oak, with Moss†. 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