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In the poem "Song of myself" by Walt Whitman, what are poetic devices, structure and...

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jlay519 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 3, 2010 at 1:35 AM via web

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In the poem "Song of myself" by Walt Whitman, what are poetic devices, structure and themes metaphors personification etc. in section 52 of this poem?

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted May 3, 2010 at 8:11 AM (Answer #1)

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Section 52 of Whitman's "Song of Myself" is written, like the rest of the poem, in free verse.  There is no rhyme and no fixed meter (rhythm), although it is interesting to note that many of the lines have between 12 and 15 syllables.

Whitman uses a wide variety of poetic devices.

a) Onomotopea (words that mimic a sound): "my barbaric yawp."

b) Anthropomorphism (inaminate objects are described as if they are human:

the day "coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk."

c) Anaphora (the repetition of phrases or grammatical structures):

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable

I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies

The theme of this section of the poem is the poet's view of his death and his future life after death. The poet does not fear death.  Rather, he sees it as a return to nature, from which he came:

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love.

The poet predicts that he will simply become part of the dust that the reader will find "under you boot-soles."  Although he will be hard to find, the poet predicts that he will bring "good health" to the world.

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