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Whitman wrote these long, convoluted verses that weren't always great or even well...

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mcfox1948 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted February 11, 2013 at 10:39 PM via web

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Whitman wrote these long, convoluted verses that weren't always great or even well written.

It has what I call an "of course" kind of element. If he is repetitive, it is just part of being human; Whitman's specific genius was in the fact that he is almost impossible to criticize, because of that "of course" element. Agree or disagree?

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appletrees | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:13 AM (Answer #1)

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This question sees to be suggesting that Whitman's poetry contains insights that are obvious and perhaps even trite. Poetry is always a matter of personal taste and response, and for some readers Whitman may be simple and obvious, to others, complex and inscrutable. When offering a critical view of any poet's work, but particularly a prolific and complex poet like Whitman, it's important to consider that using general statements will not allow an in-depth discussion of the work. The work must stand on its merits or flaws, and perhaps many critics can find plenty of both, but having a working knowledge of literary critical terms can help to lend credence to ones analysis. The use of repetition is a literary device that confers emphasis and encourages the reader to consider connections among themes and imagery. To use but one example of Whitman's complex treatment of themes and ideas, "Song of Myself" confronts themes of individuality, identity, self-expression, sexual freedom, national pride, fear of oblivion, and the search for spiritual truth. To say Whitman's verses are not "well written" reveals a personal opinion, but fails to acknowledge Whitman's success, reputation and influence as one of our greatest American poets.

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