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In the preface to the Leaves of Grass, what subject does Whitman address in the first...

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ra-ra-ga-ga122 | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted February 15, 2012 at 9:36 AM via web

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In the preface to the Leaves of Grass, what subject does Whitman address in the first paragraph?

 

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 15, 2012 at 9:58 AM (Answer #1)

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In the preface of Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman addresses America's past. In the opening paragraph, Whitman speaks to the fact that America does not "repel" (or refuse to accept) what has happened in its history.

Whitman refers to the "fact" that America stands strong in its history regardless of the negative aspects of what has happened. For Whitman, the politics, religions, and literature (while seemingly stuck) do not have to be regarded as the defining of America can/could be.

Instead, he recognizes the fact that the history has molded America into what is is today. Americans can learn from the past, and not make the same mistakes seen in the past again, or they can become the corpse "slowly born" (meaning that Americans are already dead if they fail to learn from America's past mistakes).

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