Leaves of Grass Autumn Rivulets: Questions and Answers

Walt Whitman

Autumn Rivulets: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Describe the returning heroes in Section Six of The Return of the Heroes.

2. In The Return of the Heroes, what weapons does Whitman want them to trade for their weapons of war?

3. What influences the child in There Was a Child Went Forth?

4. In The City Dead House, who is the corpse that Whitman describes?

5. In This Compost, why is the earth described as a compost heap?

6. Name the subject of Unnamed Lands.

7. Describe how the woman who sings in the prison affects the prisoners in The Singer in the Prison.

8. In Warble for Lilac Time, what three activities does Whitman wish he could do?

9. To Him That Was Crucified focuses on what specific subject?

10. Explain why Whitman envies his “farmer friend” in The Ox-Tamer.

Answers
1. The heroes are described as “harden’d” by the influences of war. They are “[w]orn swart, handsome, strong, of the stock of homestead and workshop.”

2. Whitman wants the soldiers to trade their weapons of war for “the better weapons,” instruments that are used to harvest the land and work machines.

3. The child is influenced by all the objects that he sees, from flowers and people to city streets and ocean waves. Each “became part of him.”

4. The dead body belongs to a prostitute.

5. The earth is described as a compost heap because it contains all the bodies of the dead.

6. Whitman writes about the people who belonged to cultures from ages ago, “ten thousand years before these States, and many times ten thousand years before these States.”

7. The woman who sings causes the prisoners to think of their childhood and their mothers.

8. Whitman wishes he could “fly like a bird,” “sail forth as in a ship,” and “sing with the birds.”

9. The poet addresses Jesus Christ, specifically, and all people who have been crucified or tormented, in general.

10. Whitman envies the ox tamer because his friend is surrounded by so many animals that “are affectionate to him” and want to be near him.