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what is whitmans view of american democracy  

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will3007 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 7, 2011 at 7:51 AM via web

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what is whitmans view of american democracy

 

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roykartik | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted November 7, 2011 at 1:22 PM (Answer #1)

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Whitman is most interested by Americal Democracy. This was the ever-burning theme of his poetry. He embraced it and expressed it in its all manifestation-fields, trees, animals, birds, farms, light, air, sea, men, women and their politics and social transactions, factories, workshops, offices, stories, streets, critics, plains and the countryside. Whitman accepted these and many more items as the integral parts of democracy in America.

The title of Whitman's book of verse, "Leaves of Grass" is in itself an excellent evidence of the democratic spirit of the poet. In his poem 'Song of Myself' Whitman writes:

A Child said what is the grass fetching it to me with full

hands,

How I could answer the child ? I do not know what it is any

more than he.

However, it is clear that in naming his book "Leaves of Grass" Whitman was accepting this humblest of created things as a symbol of his fierce and passionate belief in democracy.

Whitman always identified himself with the common man and considered himself the singer of the greatness and glory of the common man. Despite Whitman's burning love of the common man and his intense yearning to be appreciated by the common man, Whitman has been the poet of the elite, of the intellectuals. However, it is clear that Whitman did not expect immediate recognition or appreciation. Rather, he looked to the future with all expectancy, relying on the poets to come to grant him what he deserves. He invokes them by the following lines:

Poets to come

Not today is to justify me, and

Democracy and what we are for,

But, you, a new brood, native, athletic continental greater than before known

You must justify me.

It would have given Whitman immense gratification to know that he is recognized today as the great trumpeter of democracy, and his efforts to glorify democracy have won recognition.

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