Song of Myself Questions and Answers
by Walt Whitman

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What are the elements of democracy and equality in Song of Myself? Is Whitman breaking away from conventional Christian belief? In what ways?

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Lawrence Rodman eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As friends and countrymen, we live in a spiritual community on one plane, at the same time that we must live on a material (and materialistic) plane. A very different American philosopher, artist Andy Warhol, said something similar to Whitman’s opening lines in “Song of Myself.” It pertains to the same spirit of democracy, and by extension, our national birthright. To paraphrase, ‘Whether you’re rich or poor, no one can get a better can of Coke than anybody else.’

Compare the above concept with:

I celebrate myself

And what I assume you shall assume,

For every atom belonging to me as good as belongs to you.

It is as if the poet threw a house’s windows open wide, and nature flooded in unimpeded. The poem goes into great length about the sensual appeal of sentience and consciousness in this “Ocean of Life.” And, of course the pulse and texture the physical world is described in minute detail. Nature flows through us as well as surrounding us.

My respiration and inspiration . ....

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