Walt Whitman

Start Your Free Trial

What are the literary devices in section 6, 20, 46, 50, 51 and 52?

Expert Answers info

Stephen Holliday eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write849 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

Whitman's main literary device in Leaves of Grass (1855-87), which appears in nearly every section of the poem,  is metaphor or simile, a characteristic of Whitman's poetic style.  In addition, however, Whitman uses a variety of devices such as anthropomorphism, dialogue, monologue, syntactical inversion, onomatopoeia, and ellipsis (a favorite device of Emily Dickinson) to articulate his journey and transmutation from man to nature.

In Section 6, for example, Whitman begins with a child's question about the nature of grass and follows with his long metaphor-based monologue:

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven./Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord. . . . Or I guess it is the child itself, the produced babe of the vegetation.

These lines establish the predominant theme of nature and man being inextricably bound.  The inverted image "out of hopeful green stuff woven" skilfully centers the reader's attention first on the goodness of nature...

(The entire section contains 727 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial