Calamus: Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. What does Whitman find, in These I Singing in Spring, that he deems to be especially important, and why is it important to him?

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2. In Recorders Ages Hence, what advice does Whitman give to his future readers?

3. In When I Heard at the Close of Day, what makes Whitman happy?

4. Describe the metaphor Whitman uses in Roots and Leaves Themselves Alone to describe his poems.

5. To whom does Whitman compare the tree in I Saw in Louisiana a Live Oak Growing?

6. In This Moment Yearning and Thoughtful, how does Whitman feel about men in other countries?

7. Explain the subject of Whitman’s envy in When I Peruse the Conquer’d Fame.

8. What does A Glimpse describe?

9. In Sometimes with One I Love, what does Whitman mean when he suggests that “there is no unreturn’d love”?

10. What does the shadow respresent in That Shadow My Likeness?

Answers
1. Whitman finds a “calamus root.” It is important to him because he declares that it will be “the token of comrades.”

2. Whitman explains what future readers should say about him: he views himself as a friend and lover first, then as a poet.

3. Whitman is happy when he is with his “dear friend,” his lover.

4. Pieces of grass, roots in the ground, and flowering buds are metaphors for Whitman’s poems. If you water a flower, it will grow and bloom; if you give the same attention to one of Whitman’s poems, it will reveal itself to you.

5. Whitman compares the tree to himself: the tree seems content to be “standing alone,” while Whitman could not be happy “without a friend a lover near.”

6. Whitman feels that he is similar to men in other countries and that he...

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