Questions and Answers for Leaves of Grass

Leaves of Grass

In the preface to the Leaves of Grass, what subject does Whitman address in the first paragraph?  

Whitman's preface to his first (1855) edition of Leaves of Grass celebrates America (the United States) and the American poet. In the second paragraph to the preface, Whitman calls the U.S. itself...

Latest answer posted December 2, 2019 6:39 pm UTC

4 educator answers

Leaves of Grass

In the poem "A child said, What is the grass?" from Leaves of Grass, what are examples of metaphor and imagery? Is...

The speaker says that he is unable to answer the child, but in fact, he then launches into a series of metaphors, in which he imagines the grass as a number of things. First, he describes it as...

Latest answer posted December 14, 2018 9:19 am UTC

2 educator answers

Leaves of Grass

In the poem "Song of Myself" from Leaves of Grass, what does the first stanza mean?

"Song of Myself" was originally untitled in the collection. Later, it was called "Poem of Walt Whitman, an American," and later still it was shortened to "Walt Whitman" before it was given its...

Latest answer posted April 28, 2020 3:27 pm UTC

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Leaves of Grass

In the Preface to Leaves of Grass, Whitman writes, "The American poets are to enclose old and new[,] for America is...

Whitman views America as the ultimate land of equality and opportunity--or what should be. It is a place of infinite variety and growth and newness, incorporating everything from farmers and...

Latest answer posted October 17, 2015 8:30 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

Can someone paraphrase the poem "Whispers of Heavenly Death" by Walt Whitman?

The poem "Whispers of Heavenly Death" by poet Walt Whitman from his epic work “Leaves of Grass” is essentially a treatise on the author’s viewpoint of the grand theme of Death. Whitman views death...

Latest answer posted June 29, 2015 4:43 pm UTC

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Leaves of Grass

In section 2 of "Song of Myself", what is meant by "Have you reckon'd a thousand acres much? Have you...

Whitman is speaking to the general "you."  In an increasingly industrialized world, one in which people rarely contemplate the majesty and wonder of the natural world, he asks the...

Latest answer posted August 5, 2007 9:56 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

In section 2 of Song of Myself, what is meant by the line "Echoes, ripples, buzz'd whispers, love-root, silk...

In the first section, Whitman takes on the role of Everyman, a typical American working man, but he also represents himself as a sensuous poet. The one thing all humans have in common is their...

Latest answer posted August 4, 2007 8:36 am UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

Why was Whitman's Leaves of Grass so controversial in the mid-nineteenth century?

American poet Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass caused an uproar when it was published in 1855. The poems were criticized for Whitman's departures from traditional poetic structure, and Whitman was...

Latest answer posted July 23, 2020 3:40 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

What is an analysis of Walt Whitman's "Out of the Rolling Ocean the Crowd?  

"Out of the Rolling Ocean the Crowd" appears in the "Children of Adam" cluster in Leaves of Grass. It made its first appearance in the 1860 revision of Leaves of Grass. "Children of Adam" is...

Latest answer posted August 13, 2016 10:55 am UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

What are Whitman's views on nature? How does he express them in "Song of Myself"?

Walt Whitman wrote extensively about the position of the human being within society and within the natural world. Both the immersion and separation of a person in nature were some of his central...

Latest answer posted October 30, 2018 8:33 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Leaves of Grass

What literary devices does Walt Whitman use in "To a Stranger"? The only literary devices I can possibly see is that...

"To A Stranger," probably written in 1860, is part of Whitman's collection "Leaves of Grass," published in 1900. The principal literary device Whitman uses here is the framework of the poet's...

Latest answer posted January 19, 2012 1:19 am UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

In the poem "Leaves of Grass," a child asks, "What is the grass?" What are the principal values that may be explored...

Grass is a central image in Whitman's poetry. Grass is an very common thing, but the child's question cuts to the heart of Whitman's poetic sensibility. Like the child, Whitman too wonders about...

Latest answer posted June 4, 2019 12:24 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Leaves of Grass

Essence of section 21 of  "Song of "Myself?" What is the essence of section 21 of  "Song of "Myself?"

This section concerns the "truth in things", as Whitman writes: All truths wait in all things... This section presents the idea that a touch is as important as anything else and that the...

Latest answer posted December 20, 2012 4:52 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

What are the traits in Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" that indicates it a kind of secular scripture?

It helps to consider some traits of regular scripture. Regular scripture often contains verses that revere God, praise Him, and delight in all of his good works and creations. They give wisdom...

Latest answer posted August 26, 2009 10:31 am UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

Why does the speaker use "you" twice?

Leaves of Grass is a collection of poems written by Walt Whitman. Leaves of Grass was published in 1855. The common themes among the verses in Leaves of Grass is man's transcendence of his physical...

Latest answer posted September 15, 2018 6:59 am UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

What is the theme of the poem "To A Certain Civilian" by Walt Whitman?

The dominant theme of "To A Certain Civilian" is willful independence. Whitman asserts his role as poet to sing and speak primarily for himself: "Did you find what I sang erewhile so hard to...

Latest answer posted January 4, 2013 4:57 am UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

What is the theme of I Hear America Singing? Need comments on organization, tone, language, stylistic devices,...

"I Hear America Singing" uses the symbol of different songs to represent the pride and accomplishment of the varied American population. The language in the poem is very simple and straightforward....

Latest answer posted January 24, 2012 9:02 am UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

In Section 46 of Whitman's Song of Myself, what are some  examples of imagery, rhythm, and metaphors?

Some metaphors in this section occur in this line: “Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you.” Here “travel” and “road” refer to choices a person must make, the speaker advising that...

Latest answer posted December 12, 2007 10:59 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

What is the message of "Patrolling Barnegat" by Walt Whitman?

I think that the main message of Whitman's poem in Leaves of Grass was to bring out the awesome force of the natural setting in the midst of human imagination. The setting of the speaker,...

Latest answer posted June 13, 2012 1:34 am UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

"Song of Myself" the opposite of Manifest Destiny? Can Whitman in "Song of Myself" be considered...

...in the summer of 1845, John L. O'Sullivan (1813895) proclaimed that it was the "manifest destiny of the United States to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free...

Latest answer posted December 20, 2012 4:48 pm UTC

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Leaves of Grass

How does this passage from "Leaves of Grass" by Walt Whitman diverge from the mainstream of romanticism? "Sure as the...

This passage from 'Leaves of Grass' by Walt Whitman diverges from the mainstream of romanticism in that it does not deal only with Nature and her mysteries and beauty, but also with Mankind and...

Latest answer posted February 10, 2010 6:35 am UTC

2 educator answers

Leaves of Grass

Overall what is Whitman saying in "Song of Myself", in the lines below? soul clear and sweetunseen cannot...

THis entire poem is singing the beauty of humanity and of each person's occupation. That every person is important as is every job. The "song" of each job (hammers, human voices, other...

Latest answer posted October 29, 2007 10:56 am UTC

2 educator answers

Leaves of Grass

In the poem of Walt Whitman, [I celebrate myself, and sing myself], what do the last four lines mean? Thank you very...

Part 1 of Whitman's "Song of Myself" ("I celebrate myself, and I sing myself") is divided into four irregular stanzas, and concludes with a four-line stanza which, effectively, summarizes the...

Latest answer posted February 16, 2018 9:15 am UTC

2 educator answers

Leaves of Grass

Which poems from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass have to do with the American dream?

Walt Whitman’s seminal book of poetry Leaves of Grass has several selections that are centered on crafting and defining the American Dream. Whitman extols the virtues of the American Dream even in...

Latest answer posted April 13, 2016 6:42 am UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

Can anyone explain what Walt Whitman is talking about in his preface to Leaves of Grass, please? I have to argue...

I am struck by some of the opening words in the Preface to Whitman's work. The idea of "The Americans of all nations at any time upon the earth, have probably the fullest poetical nature" and...

Latest answer posted December 11, 2010 3:40 am UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

What are three elements of free verse you find in "Abroad at a Ship's Helm"?

Free verse refers to poetry that does not have rhyme, rhythm or meter. All three are true of "Abroad at a Ship's Helm". If you look to the end of the lines, there is no rhyme scheme...

Latest answer posted March 29, 2008 6:45 am UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

What three elements of free verse are used by Walt Whitman in the poem "Aboard at a Ship's Helm"?

Lack of regular line length, lack of rhyme scheme, and rhythm based on "pattern elements" such as "sounds, words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs, rather than on the traditional...

Latest answer posted March 20, 2008 9:54 am UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

How does this passage from Leaves of Grass reflect mainstream Romantic sentiment? "Sure as the most certain sure,...

The overwhelming faith in nature is one particularly Romantic theme in the passage. The Romantics believed that if there was a conception of truth, or absolute meaning, it resided in the natural...

Latest answer posted February 7, 2010 9:26 am UTC

2 educator answers

Leaves of Grass

What are examples of metaphor and imagery in Song of Myself? Is there any explanation in Spanish that may help me? 

There are examples of metaphor and imagery throughout the poem, but if you would better understand the poem in Spanish, just go to the link below. You will find a full translation and explanation...

Latest answer posted October 27, 2007 12:29 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

In "Pioneers!  O Pioneers!" by Walt Whitman, who will take up "the task eternal?"

I think that "the task eternal" is the development of the United States. The stanza where the phrase appears open with "Have the elder races halted?" Such a question brings to light that Whitman...

Latest answer posted February 5, 2011 10:22 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

According to the preface of Leaves of Grass, what is the promise of American literature and has it been fulfilled?

I think that one of the most basic elements that comes out of Whitman's Preface is the idea of linking the subjective with the national. Whitman seeks to establish that there is such a thing as...

Latest answer posted December 11, 2010 9:51 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

Is it necessary to read the whole poem "Song of Myself" to have an idea about it, or are there some main...

I think you must read the whole of any poem to understand it. "Song of Myself" should not only be read in its entirety, but it should also be read aloud to appreciate the beauty of the...

Latest answer posted October 27, 2007 9:49 am UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

Are there any important issues that Whitman speaks to in "Song of Myself" that must be taken into...

I am not sure the poem is timeless, for it in many ways is a reaction to the ways of looking at life and God that preceeded it. "I celebrate myself," says Whitman, "what I assume you...

Latest answer posted October 27, 2007 11:08 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Leaves of Grass

What evidence is there of Whitman's personality in the introduction to Leaves Of Grass?

I am not sure that Whitman does much to avoid his personality and presence in Leaves of Grass. Fundamentally, Whitman believes that his work has to be a reflection of him and his beliefs. There...

Latest answer posted June 19, 2011 2:55 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

What are sections 1, 6, and 52 about in Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass"?

Section 1 is about a variety of places that the speaker is from. He references California, Missouri, the Dakotas, and several other locations across the United States. Since the majority of...

Latest answer posted November 22, 2011 10:57 am UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

How does Whitman see the individual "soul" in relation to the new world of technology?  Is he optimistic or fearful? ...

One of Walt Whitman's biographers writes that although he claimed to be the poet of science and progress, he was "at heart opposed to Darwinism but afraid to say so openly." His "new religion" came...

Latest answer posted January 28, 2014 5:15 am UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

What does "an unseen hand also passed over their bodies/It descended tremblingly from their temples and...

This quote does not mean anything when taken out of the context. “Where are you off to, lady? for I see you, You splash in the water there, yet stay stock still in your room. Dancing and laughing...

Latest answer posted October 15, 2008 2:23 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

What does the phrase "the largest and most stirring" refer to in Leaves of Grass?

Whitman speaks of the "largest and most stirring" in his Preface to Leaves of Grass. Here is the quote: The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem. In the history of the earth...

Latest answer posted February 4, 2020 7:16 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

Why Walt Whitman became trascendental with Song of myself? Why do people have to read it? Did he give another...

"Song of Myself" is considered a transcendentalist work because it deals with the idea that a spiritual state can only be achieved through one's self and one's own intuition and not...

Latest answer posted October 29, 2007 4:03 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

What is Whitman's purpose when using long/unrhyming irregular lines? compare to Emily Dickinson's short, structured...

The rhythm that Whitman sought in his choice of unrhymed free verse was of an equal connectivity, a relatedness of all phenomena, natural cycles, human emotions, etc. rather than a...

Latest answer posted October 16, 2012 8:07 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

Why does Whitman believe that death has a purpose?

For Whitman, life and death are inextricably intertwined in a huge circle. One thig dies, another is born. The purpose of death is to keep the circle moving. Death is not something to be feared,...

Latest answer posted October 30, 2007 1:49 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

About Walt Whitman and his poetry, do you think his work is still worthy of the praise that Neruda gives him? Yes, it...

Yes, it is worthy of Neruda's praise. Neruda, whose style differs from Whitman's in some important respects, nevertheless followed Whitman's practice of looking closely and with a poetic eye on...

Latest answer posted January 14, 2012 3:39 am UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

Whitman female counterpart If you would choose a female counterpart to Whitman, who would she be? Does America have a...

Good choice! She doesn't really have the epic quality, but she has the nature connection--and how she connects. I'm thinking of her poem "The Fish," where she catches this fish and begins to...

Latest answer posted October 21, 2007 5:51 am UTC

4 educator answers

Leaves of Grass

Why was Walt Whitman liked by some people and disliked by others?

Whitman was a controversial figure because he broke with so many poetic traditions. He wrote in free verse, which was revolutionary at the time and cast him as a prophetic figure for future poets....

Latest answer posted April 22, 2008 8:55 am UTC

1 educator answer

Leaves of Grass

 Old English is difficult sometimes.How can I paraphrase Song of myself in order to understand it better? I would...

Song of Myself is not written in Old English, which refers to language before the Middle Ages (before 1400). Song of Myself was written in the 1800s. One way to try to understand it better, and...

Latest answer posted October 27, 2007 10:57 pm UTC

2 educator answers