In section 1 and 52 of Whitman's "Song of Myself", are there examples of metaphors and personifications?

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morrol's profile pic

morrol | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Whitman uses many metaphors and personification in his poetry. In the first part of "Song of Myself", he uses this line: 

 "Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,"

This line personifies the creeds and schools. Whitman turns them into living things that may or may not obey.

Section 52 uses personification as well. The section starts with the line:

"The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab
and my loitering."

Here the hawk accuses and complains, both human characteristics.

This section also contains a metaphor (a simile actually) where Whitman compares himself to air. 

"I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags."

iandavidclark3's profile pic

iandavidclark3 | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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There are many metaphors and examples of personification in Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself," and so there are of course several instances of both in sections 1 and 52. 

Section 1, for example, contains personification in the fourth line, as Whitman says, "I loaf and invite my soul." This is personification because Whitman is "inviting" his soul as if it were a living, breathing organism, rather than an abstract concept. Moreover, in line 5 Whitman observes "a spear of summer grass", and thus he metaphorically likens the vegetation to a medieval weapon.

In section 52, Whitman supplies several examples of both personification and metaphor. He refers to "the roofs of the world" in line 1333, and so he uses a metaphor to compare the sky to the roof of a house. Additionally, he provides the day with human-like qualities, saying that it "flings my likeness" (1335) and "coaxes me" (1336), both of which are subtle examples of personification.

There are many rich and wonderful examples of metaphors, personification, and other uses of figurative language in "Song of Myself," and it is worth reading the whole poem to enjoy Whitman's creative and poetic voice.  

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