Many elements of Romanticism appear in Whitman's poem. Romantics celebrated nature as a spiritual force, exalted the common person, wrote in everyday language, and wanted to express deep emotion through their verse. All of these attributes permeate "Leaves of Grass."
The poem celebrates nature as a force of revelation, implicit in the line:
I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked
Nature will allow us to strip away the culturally imposed and superficial and become who we really are, a very Romantic concept.
Nature is also a spiritual force, a manifestation of the divine in the real world. Whitman, for example, calls the grass "the handkerchief of the Lord."
Whitman celebrates the cosmos and a radical democracy in which he sees everyone as as good as everyone else. Fundamental to Romanticism is a desire to reveal the good in the common people (this is why we talk, for instance, about "romanticizing" the poor). Whitman celebrates everyone and sees everyone as as a...
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