From the first line, Walt Whitman makes it clear that he plans to celebrate himself in his poem. The introductory section also evokes the classic invocation of the muse found in epic poems such as The Iliad, The Odyssey, Paradise Lost, and other such epic poetry, only here the muse is Whitman himself rather than God, many gods, or even the muse. He does not seek outside himself for inspiration but within.
This introduction might initially strike the reader as overly arrogant and self-congratulatory, but Whitman further claims, "For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you," which clarifies the grand scope of his creative intentions. This will not be a poem specifically about Walt Whitman as an individual but a poem about all human beings.
He is equating himself with the reader and, truly, the whole of humanity. The purpose of the poem is to highlight this unity. By singing of himself, he plans on singing of everyone else as well. When the poet speaks of having parents and then of...
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