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Nature And Death In Walt Whitman's Song Of Myself

677 words - 3 pages

There are many "popular" topics used frequently by authors. Love, religion, and war are some favorites. Two other such topics we typically read about are nature and death. The two can be discussed separately or they can be related to each other. Walt Whitman, a lover of nature, tackled these subjects in "Song of Myself" from Leaves of Grass. Another author who does the same is William Cullen Bryant. Though two very different writers with different styles, they share some of the same ideas.

"Song of Myself" is a celebration of life and God. Whitman loved everything imaginable about nature. He loved people, animals, and himself. Throughout this extensive poem, Whitman mentions "red" people (Indians), "negros," butchers, women, the poor and the rich. He believed that all are good in some way or another and all people are equal. He loved them all for their own special reason. He also loved animals. Stanza thirteen praises the beauty and worthiness of oxen, tortoises, and mockingbirds. He believed all living things were connected. People are linked with the mares, cats, prairie dogs, and other creatures. Humans are even linked to the grass in the ground (Reef 50). That line sums it up. People are a part of nature. There is a birth, death, and renewal cycle that connects the two.

Stanza six is a simple, believable explanation of death. It starts out in a conversation with a child asking what grass is. The line of answer is "the beautiful uncut hair of graves" (Whitman 2747). When we die, we are buried in the ground. We are returned, in a sense, from whence we came. God did form Adam, the first man, from the earth. William Cullen Bryant says in "Thanatopsis," "earth that nourishes thee, shall claim thy...

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