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Is it correct to say that most of Walt Whitman's poems are about nature?

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sarwins | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 19, 2011 at 11:05 AM via web

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Is it correct to say that most of Walt Whitman's poems are about nature?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 19, 2011 at 9:14 PM (Answer #2)

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I think that nature is a part of Whitman's landscape of writing.  It is consistent with the Transcendental movement and inspiration that thinkers like Emerson gave to the poet.  The notion of Transcendentalism called for unique and passionate ways of thought and exploration of articulating the world's condition.  This is one where reverence for nature is a part of this.  Yet, I think that nature is only a part of Whitman's artistic landscape.  Whitman uses nature as a way to embrace individuality and a sense of non- conformity in his writing.  I don't see him as a "nature" poet.  Rather, the natural setting is a part of his overall message of embracing individuality, following the path within the greatness of American democracy, and extolling the virtues of what it means to be in America.  In seeking to give voice to the nation, I think that Whitman uses its natural beauty as a way to accentuate the uniqueness and distinctive nature of America.  I don't see nature as being the sole arena where this is evident, but rather part of something larger.

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