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What evidence is there of Whitman's personality in the introduction to Leaves Of Grass?

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zapperdude60 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 19, 2011 at 5:56 AM via web

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What evidence is there of Whitman's personality in the introduction to Leaves Of Grass?

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

Posted June 19, 2011 at 2:55 PM (Answer #1)

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I am not sure that Whitman does much to avoid his personality and presence in Leaves of Grass.  Fundamentally, Whitman believes that his work has to be a reflection of him and his beliefs.  There is little in terms of trying to separate this.  In this light, Whitman ensures that what is written is from his own point of view and rooted in his own beliefs.  Consider that one of the poems in the work is entitled, "Song of Myself."   The introduction makes it clear that while America and poetry are the topics, Whitman will not lose his own place in this narrative.  The very idea of "I Hear America Singing," is representative of Whitman's personality in what he experiences within America.  His repetition of "I Hear," helps to bring out the idea that the subjective experience is an integral part of what is he is exploring.  In "Thou Reader," Whitman is open about how he identifies with his reason, thus proving the converse true that his readers should identify with him.  The notion of Whitman's subjectivity as being a part of the introduction is compelling because Whitman is introduced as much as the work, itself.  In this, Whitman is able to assert the Romantic tendencies that he appropriates in his view of America.

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