In "Song of Myself," what do these lines mean? "I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world."  

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I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,

I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. (1332-3)

Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" is wild poem reveling in the exploration of the concept of self. Indeed, for its time, the poem was incredible radical, asserting a concept of identity in which the individual is a constantly changing entity that defies any singular definition. The above lines are perhaps one of the poem's most famous quotes, as they encompass the work's central theme of a self that transcends easy translation.

Prior to these lines, Whitman has spent the poem discussing the extent of his identity, declaring the he is "large" and contains "multitudes" (1326). Therefore, the whole course of the poem has been spent asserting an infinitely complicated self that has many definitions, but no single, definitive, meaning. Thus, the above quote, and especially Whitman's famous "yawp," is the ultimate expression of this infinite self, as he essentially asserts his ultimate independence and haughtily defies all attempts at categorization. The "barbaric" aspect of this yawp is especially important, as it highlights Whitman's wildness and his disassociation from society. In a nutshell, then, these lines are a confident declaration of a sense of self that defies society's efforts to define it.

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One of the major statements the speaker makes in this long poem is that he is essentially intertwined with nature and nature (and the entire universe) is intertwined with him. In short, everything is connected.

When we think of a person or a "self," we think of an individual, a singular self differentiated from all the other selves. In "Song of Myself," the speaker celebrates him(self) but also speaks as having transcended the self. Therefore, any previous notions of an isolated self do not apply. The speaker is therefore not limited by the notion of an isolated self; he has transcended the notion. He is also therefore, not "tamed" by his "self."

Since it is uncommon to speak of...

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