Leaves of Grass Children of Adam: Questions and Answers

Walt Whitman

Children of Adam: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Name the central figure in the poem, To the Garden the World.

2. What does Whitman mean when he writes that he is “singing” about something?

3. Describe the significance of the farmer in Section Three of I Sing the Body Electric.

4. What kind of auction does Whitman describe in Section Seven of I Sing the Body Electric?

5. We Two, How Long We Were Fool’d features a transformation of two people. Describe what they become.

6. Who are the “shunn’d persons” in Native Moments?

7. In Once I Pass 'd through a Populous City, what does the speaker remember from his trip to the city?

8. In I Heard You Solemn Sweet Pipes of the Organ, what are the several sounds that the poet hears?

9. Describe what the speaker is seeking in Facing West from California’s Shores.

10. In As Adam Early in the Morning, what does the speaker want others to do?

Answers
1. The central figure of the poem is Adam.

2. Whitman does not write actual songs; rather, he is “singing” the praise of his subject. He wants to convey his celebration of the subject.

3. Whitman describes the farmer’s physical attributes and his hobbies, but his most salient characteristic is his important role as a father and grandfather.

4. Whitman describes a “slave mart” where slaves are bought and sold.

5. Two people transform into all kinds of nature, including plants, rocks, trees, animals, clouds, waves, and snow.

6. The “shunn’d persons” are: “Nature’s darlings,” “dancers,” “drinkers,” or any kind of “low person” who is “condemn’d by others.”

7. The speaker only remembers a woman whom he happened to meet there.

8. In addition to the “solemn sweet” sounds of an organ coming from a church, the poet hears the “[w]inds of autumn” and a “tenor singing at the opera.” He also imagines hearing the sounds of his lover “murmuring low” in his mind.

9. The speaker is seeking “what is yet unfound.”

10. The speaker wants others to touch him and not be afraid of his body.