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In the poem A child said, what is the grass? from Leaves of Grass, What are examples...

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retoch | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 28, 2007 at 9:38 AM via web

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In the poem A child said, what is the grass? from Leaves of Grass, What are examples of metaphor and imagery ?

Is there any relation to the socio-cultural context of that time?

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 29, 2007 at 11:06 AM (Answer #1)

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The speaker’s answer to the child is replete with metaphor and imagery for the speaker finds the question too complex, too philosophical, and yet too simple for a straightforward answer. An example of metaphor: he says a leaf of grass is “the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven.”  Here he compares the grass to himself in that he is part of nature; in being the “flag of his disposition,” it represents who he is, and woven “out of hopeful green stuff” refers to the vitality of nature that always continues through its courses as we see it in life and death as well as the seasons of the year. “Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones, / Growing among black folks as among white” provides a beautiful image of color and equality, allowing us to “see” the green growing naturally, spontaneously, and without effort among black people and white people (and then he goes on to mention other groups of people). Here he uses the blade of grass to create a visual image of equality.

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