In Section 33 of Song of Myself, what are some examples of visual imagery and tactile imagery?
This section of Whitman's poem is filled with sensory writing; imagery is the most predominant poetic technique found throughout. Many of the visual images are those of nature:
- "Where the panther walks to and fro on a limb overhead"
- "Where the buck turns furiously at the hunter"
- "Where the rattlesnake suns his flabby length on a rock"
- "Where the alligator in his tough pimples sleeps by the bayou"
- "Where the beaver pats the mud with his paddle-shaped tail"
The specific details in these lines create the visual images. Here is another excellent example of visual imagery from the poem:
Where cattle stand and shake away flies with the tremulous shuddering of their hides
Not all of the visual images capture scenes from nature; some are domestic, such as those found in this passage:
Where the cheese-cloth hangs in the kitchen, where andirons straddle the hearth-slab, where cobwebs fall in festoons from the rafters;
These images create the interior of farm house kitchen or a cabin.
Tactile imagery in the poem is not developed as frequently, but it is present and effective, as seen in these examples:
- "Scorch'd ankle-deep by the hot sand, hauling my boat down the shallow river"
- "The twinges that sting like needles his legs and neck, the murderous buckshot and the bullets"
In these passages, hot sand burns the feet, and a runaway slave feels the physical pain of being shot.