This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Blue Highways, Leaves Of Grass And The Parkdale Library

1147 words - 5 pages

Blue Highways, Leaves of Grass and the Parkdale Library


I don't know what exactly I expected to find at the library that summer.  Rows of gleaming shelves and neatly stacked books, probably.  No sound but the humming of fluorescent lights and the thump of rubber stamps.  The librarians would be demure types - soft-spoken and intellectual.  I thought of the place itself as a sort of solemn temple to the written word.  With these images in mind, I was startled by my first glimpse of the employees' workroom.  As it turns out, librarians read the People magazines before they go on display, and complain to each other about bratty kids that file through, and they leave sticky bottles of Mountain Dew in the refrigerator.  Such are the secret lives of the people who used to strike fear into the hearts of my second-grade classmates.


For me, it was a slightly jarring introduction to the working world.  I was starting my first summer job, and, after hours, reading Blue Highways and thinking about journeys.  William Least Heat Moon crossed the country over fifteen years ago, devouring Walt Whitman and "gathering the minds of men" (410).  I was crossing a small threshold of reality, gathering observations on the behavior of men.  He turned his back on the trials of life and I was watching its eccentricities; he was growing cynical and I am still completely green. Yet to me in June 1999, our journeys seemed almost identical.  So as Least Heat Moon studied Leaves of Grass, I studied this road diary and tried to follow its winding philosophy.


It was the philosophy that came in handy  - especially the parts that Least Heat Moon picked up on his way from the book and from the people.  Among other things, Whitman wrote, "I have no mockings or arguments, I witness and wait" (396).   Useful advice, as it turned out: arguing with the methods at Parkdale Branch Library is a waste of time if you can just sit back and watch. My fellow student assistant Molly, for example, was a variety show by herself.  She was an impish thing, with a wheat-colored ponytail and an arc of bangs over her forehead.  Her face was square and freckled; her eyes never opened more than halfway, as if she were perpetually examining something.


"C'mon," she would say, "lemme show you how to sort magazines," and then I was being pulled to the racks and nudged onto a footstool with her interrogating me all the while.  "How d'you like it so far?" she asked.  "It's nice enough, I guess," she answered herself, "but I'm outta here in August, thank God."  And so on, until we had finished whatever it was I needed to learn.  She was most animated around five, when another student, Matt, got ready to leave.  "Adios, amigos!" he always said, and she would reply with a "Sayonara!"  Sometimes they worked their way through over a dozen languages...

Find Another Essay On Blue Highways, Leaves of Grass and the Parkdale Library

review of leaves of grass walt whitman

1558 words - 6 pages Leaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanBy ghadatu | Studymode.comLeaves of Grass by Walt Whitman In the twentieth century, the name Walt Whitman has been synonymous with poetry. Whitman's most celebrated work, Leaves of Grass, was the only book he ever wrote, and he took a lifetime to write it. A large assortment of poems, it is one of the most widely criticized works in literature, and one of the most loved works as well. Whitman was unmarried and

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

1493 words - 6 pages Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman In the twentieth century, the name Walt Whitman has been synonymous with poetry. Whitman's most celebrated work, Leaves of Grass, was the only book he ever wrote, and he took a lifetime to write it. A large assortment of poems, it is one of the most widely criticized works in literature, and one of the most loved works as well. Whitman was unmarried and childless, and it has been noted that Leaves of Grass

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

2900 words - 12 pages as red, white, and blue as the declaration of independence and the nation’s proudest achievement. Every American is entitled to his “god” given right to life, liberty, and private property – collectivism does not fit into that equation; or does it? For Whitman both were essential to Americanness. The poems in Leaves of Grass allude to America as a massive collective of individuals ruling by way of a radical democracy. In “To The States

Walt Whitman: Homoeroticism in Leaves of Grass

1810 words - 7 pages Leaves of Grass is Walt Whitman’s life legacy and at the same time the most praised and condemned book of poetry. Although fearful of social scorn, there are several poems in Leaves of Grass that are more explicit in showing the homoerotic imagery, whereas there are several subtle – should I say “implicit” – images woven into the fabric of the book. It is not strange, then, that he created many different identities in order to remain safe. What

Ideas of Gender and Domesticity in Leaves of Grass and Selected Emily Dickinson Poems

1577 words - 7 pages Ideas of Gender and Domesticity in Leaves of Grass and Selected Emily Dickinson Poems Though both Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson were highly self-reliant and individualistic, he found importance in the “frontiers” and believed the soul was only attainable through a physical connection with nature, whereas she chose to isolate and seclude herself from her community in order to focus solely on her writing. In this analysis, I will look at

The Effects of Highways and Automobiles on Urban American Character

1304 words - 5 pages sprawl through diminished downtown economies. Highways have also played a key role in the standardization of American urban environments. Many urban areas around the country have lost their character and senses of place that they once used to embrace. More effective strategies to halt these issues should be implemented by the government. Different strategies in locating highways and strategies to help discourage the use of automobiles would assist

A Critical Review of "Leaves of Grass" By Walt Whitman

1728 words - 7 pages 1 A Critical Review of "Leaves of Grass" By Walt Whitman Masoud Shahnazari Azad University of Kerman Instructor: Dr. Khozaei Introduction Walter Whitman, the poet known as the American bard was born in West Hills, Long Island in New York on May 31, 1819. His mother, Louisa, immigrated from Holland and his father, Walter, from England. Whitman's father worked mostly with his hands as a carpenter and a house builder and Whitman himself would

Walt Whitman’s Sensual Language in Leaves of Grass

685 words - 3 pages admiration. Whitman intended to celebrate humanity in “I Sing the Body Electric”, and he is successful in elevating the human form in his poem. He uses his techniques of description and listing the merits of all aspects of humanity effectively, and while some of the verses may be considered “graphic” by the reader, they are not vulgar. Instead, the descriptions serve to portray people as they really are and to emphasize the point their mortal forms are something to exalt. Works Cited Whitman, Walt. “I Sing the Body Electric.” Leaves of Grass. Project Gutenberg, 2008. EBook. 8 Apr. 2014. .

Library of Congress and the Digital World Library

1000 words - 4 pages April 24, 1800, the Library of Congress was developed. Not only is it the oldest federal-cultural institution in the U.S, the Library is the most internationally broad library. The Library is open to the billions of people around the world with more than 150 million sources. Before the mass success and digital promotion, the Library of Congress fought tribulations to become the historical mark it is today. The first mention of the Library was in

The significance of Library and Archives Canada

1001 words - 5 pages Thesis The significance Library and Archives Canada is the preservation of Canadian history. Introduction Without the protection of Library and Archives Canada, Vital documentation of Canadian History Act could be lost. The significance of the Library and Archives of Canada is that it holds every important document this country was built on and more including the Census of Canadian citizens all the way back to 1871 in addition to a military

Reading and the Importance of a Library

894 words - 4 pages The need for reading books and visiting the library depends of internal human culture. Some people has this kind of need on a level of instincts as eating or sleeping, and some people don't. Of course, the habit of loving books in itself can be developed inside each person. But you have to reasonably explain - why do you need to read a book. One famous French politician and diplomat, believed that "a good library provides support for every mood

Similar Essays

Forgotten People Of The Blue Highways

659 words - 3 pages Forgotten People of the Blue Highways Journeying along the back roads of the blue highways of the road maps, William Least Heat Moon discovers the forgotten people of America in Blue Highways. In the beginning, his trip seems to be motivated by anger and disillusion. But when readers look deeper into the story, they see that Least Heat Moon focuses the attention on how to "climb out of a world which he realized was impersonal and

Meaning And Texture Of The Seventh Poem In Leaves Of Grass

821 words - 3 pages Meaning and Texture of the Seventh Poem in Leaves of Grass   Walt Whitman's seventh poem in his work, Leaves of Grass, displays the subtlety with which the poet is able to manipulate the reader's emotions. In this poem there are no particular emotional images, but the overall image painted by word choice and use of sounds is quite profound. This poem, like many others written by Walt Whitman, is somewhat somber in mood, but not

"Leaves Of Grass" And A Biography Of Walt Whitman

684 words - 3 pages Walt Whitman was a poet born right here in this very town, Huntington, New York. His house is now a museum that sits across the street from the Walt Whitman Mall. To honor Walt Whitman's greatness several of his poems from The Leaves of Grass have been engraved upon the walls of the mall. The life that Whitman led was a hard one, and his controversial poetry and ideas didn't help much either. Many people objected to his ideas and the themes of

Egalitarianism In The Leaves Of Grass By Walt Whitman

1234 words - 5 pages Within Walt Whitman’s works he expresses his egalitarianism or belief in the equality of all people, especially in political, social, or economic life in his epic book called the leaves of grass. His strong point of view in the poem I Sing the Body Electric is expressed through sexuality, body attributes, political views. In the poem of I sing the body electric Walt Whitman expresses many qualities upon the body. It is as if he almost prizes