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How does this passage from Leaves of Grass reflect mainstream Romantic sentiment?...

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jah8482 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 7, 2010 at 6:05 AM via web

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How does this passage from Leaves of Grass reflect mainstream Romantic sentiment?

"Sure as the most certain sure, plumb in the uprights, well entretied, braced in the beams, Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical, I and this mystery here we stand"

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 7, 2010 at 6:48 AM (Answer #1)

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The outstanding characteristis that are notable in this passage and go in agreement with the aesthetics of Romanticism are:

1. The appeal to all five senses "well entretied, stout, affectionate, haughty, electrical"

2. The use of nature to convey literary techniques "stout as a horse"

3. The exploration of a netherworld, the supernatural,or a secret "the mystery" which with the narrator will remain.

4. The no metaphors, but complex and clear imagery.

5. Melodic, poetic and almost rhytmic language.

6. Strong emotion as part of the aesthetic psyche

7.Sublime, subtle, and poweful imagery.

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

Posted February 7, 2010 at 9:26 AM (Answer #2)

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The overwhelming faith in nature is one particularly Romantic theme in the passage. The Romantics believed that if there was a conception of truth, or absolute meaning, it resided in the natural setting and not in one embodied by individuals or conformist social orders.  The subjectivity of the quote is another Romantic theme.  Romantic thinkers were not concerned with the objective or scientific nature of reality.  Individual consciousness is of vital importance because through the subjective, a new form of truth is revealed.  This is present in the passage's affirmation of self.  Finally, the term "this mystery" helps to reveal the Romantic conception of negative capability, a condition where individuals are able to assert that there might be conditions of reality where absolute answers cannot be offered and there is a certain level of comfort within this condition.

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