Like the other response states, the almost infinite scenes Whitman describes in section 33 of this poem are not individually significant. However, each is part of a unified whole. Whitman is trying to convey the universality of existence, regardless if one is animal or man, rich or poor, fortunate or unfortunate.
The repetition of the word “pleas’d” in the middle part of the section indicates Whitman’s affinity for everyone and everything. He uses a series of antitheses in these lines to illustrate his equal admiration for extreme opposites.
There is a shift beginning with the line “I understand the large hearts of heroes,” as Whitman turns his focus to imagining himself in various roles, including that of a drowned sailor, a firefighter, and a slave. Whitman presents himself as empathetic, able to feel all of the suffering of the human soul via these various imagined experiences: a woman burned at the stake for a witch and the “old artillerist” who watches his general die are diverse examples of the types of suffering to which Whitman bears witness.
This section juxtaposes the exultant and the wretched in order to illustrate the unity within the disparate parts of being.