What are Whitman's views on nature? How does he express them in "Song of Myself"?

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Walt Whitman wrote extensively about the position of the human being within society and within the natural world. Both the immersion and separation of a person in nature were some of his central concerns. Writing about himself in particular, Whitman to some extent removes the ego from this consideration. He...

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Walt Whitman wrote extensively about the position of the human being within society and within the natural world. Both the immersion and separation of a person in nature were some of his central concerns. Writing about himself in particular, Whitman to some extent removes the ego from this consideration. He positions himself as the representative of humanity, as a microcosm of all the issues that human beings face. These associations are also the quintessence of all creativity, in which the poet wants others to join.

In Part 2, these associations are especially powerful. He locates breath and creativity in his physical self as well as the physical attributes of nature.

The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and dark-color’d sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn,

The sound of the belch’d words of my voice loos’d to the eddies of the wind,

A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms,

The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag,

The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides,

The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun.

At the end of Part 5 as well, his words seem more of an incantation than a secular poem, as he evokes peace and knowledge beyond the earth. Even as he communes with god and other humans, the infinite connections extend through nature. This communion includes not only the grand and glorious, but also the ordinary—drooping leaves, ants and anthills, and the stones and weeds in a field.

And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,

And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,

And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers,

And that a kelson of the creation is love,

And limitless are leaves stiff or drooping in the fields,

And brown ants in the little wells beneath them,

And mossy scabs of the worm fence, heap’d stones, elder, mullein and poke-weed.

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I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their
parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

Just from the first stanza of "Song of Myself" the reader can see that Whitman loves nature and loves being in nature.  In fact, he considers every creature (that's you and me) part of nature--all atoms intertwined and all part of the bigger picture.  Anything that interconnected is energizing, revitalizing, and serves to jazz you up on a daily basis. 

Whitman belongs to the group of poets who suscribe to the idea that no matter how poorly you're feeling or how bad your day has been, just take a walk in the cleansing air and enjoy nature in its element.  After that, you can't possibly continue to be down and depressed...the energy of nature will uplift you like a pep rally for your soul. 

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