How does Walt Whitman address what it means to be an American in “Song of Myself”?
Whitman finds an exuberant connection with all of America in this poem. He feels the energy of all the people in the country from the blacksmith to the butcher boy to the negro—and even the team of horses the "giant" negro drives. He writes:
I behold the picturesque giant [the negro] and love him, and I do not stop there,I go with the team also.In me the caresser of life wherever moving, backward as well as forward sluing,To niches aside and junior bending, not a person or object missing,Absorbing all to myself and for this song.
He sees himself as part of everyone and everything. This universal self derives its life and energy from its awareness of all others and the universe.
Shortly after the passage quoted above he offers a long list of all the Americans he feels kinship with, young and old, male and female, from the whaler to the Native American to the judge. He writes:
I resist any thing better than my own diversity,Breathe the air but leave plenty after me
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