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What are the romantic elements presented in "Song of Myself"?

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scotthaken | Honors

Posted August 21, 2013 at 2:04 AM via web

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What are the romantic elements presented in "Song of Myself"?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 21, 2013 at 6:53 AM (Answer #1)

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Throughout this series of poems, Whitman presents a view of life where humanity enjoys an incredibly close relationship with nature, so close, in fact, that even when he imagines himself dying in Section 52 he believs that this will not impact upon his own sense of identity, as the following quote describes:

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.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.

Even though death is described as a "departure" at the beginning of this quote, at the same time it is also described as a kind of mystical union with nature, as Whitman imagines "bequeathing" himself to the earth. Even though he will be dead, the final line of this quote presents a very clear sense of tangible identity that remains even after this "death." Romanticism is therefore present in one sense through this very clear union with nature that exists throughout these poems, and challenges accepted notions of man's relationship with the natural world around him and pushes the boundaries of that relationship.

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