Through the poetry of Dickinson and Whitman, what can be learned about their search for inner truth?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a lot of lessons that can be learned from these two wonderful poets.

Walt Whitman, through his "Song of Myself" takes us into a journey of contemplation, ascerting the fact that self-realization and the recognition of the self does not have to be a process of pain and sacrifice, but rather an analysis of the magnificence of being a creation, complete with flaws and unique traits that open the door for humanity.

Through loving ourselves, we also love humanity as a whole. This is evident in the verse:

I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

Emily Dickinson embodied the quest for inner truth through her own asceticism that consisted on what can be called a spiritual self-imposed isolation. In her poetry, all the flakes of color that compose our human nature are explored, and she aims to bring us to a point where we are able to indentify who we are and what we have become. She teaches us the opposite of Whitman, in my opinion, because she may not embrace the human side as much as she embraces the spiritual aspect of life.

Both Whitman and Dickinson teach us the value of a life of contemplation, and the possibility of self-realization through embracing our humanity and welcoming our spirituality as elements that make us a unique creation.