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The Life Of Walt Whitman Essay

1350 words - 6 pages

Walt Whitman's life is the story of a young man's journey to become the great americian poet that he set out to be. It was a life of struggle and adversity. While we all know too well how it feels to be judged for what or how we believe, Whitman didn't let it scare him off easily. He had strong beliefs and stood his ground for what he believed in, no matter what names he was called or what people said about him. In his writtings and his life Whitman was true to who he was and what he believed.
Walt Whitman was born May 31, 1819, to Walter and Louisa Whitman, a working class family in West Hills, New York, a village near Hempstead, Long Island. The second of six children, Whitman grew up in a community full of Quakers and followed religion very strictly as a child. From 1825-1830, Whitman attended public schools in Brooklyn. He loved to read the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson because he thought he related to Emerson's ideas and theologies which were close to his own (123HelpMe.com).
By the age of eleven, Whitman was done with his formal education and began his life as a laborer. Whitman's first job was that of an office boy for some lawyers who gave him a subscription to a library. This is where he would self educate himself further. Whitman gained his knowledge from visiting museums, his love of reading books, and by engaging everyone he met in conversation or a debate. In 1831 Whitman became an apprentice on a working class newspaper. This is where he learned the printing trade and was first exposed to the excitement of putting words into print. By the age of twelve Whitman had begun getting his own work published. By 1833, Whitman's family had left and gone back to West Hills, leaving fourteen year old Walt alone in the city. Learning how to set type, Whitman was gaining skills and experience that would mark his whole career (Price and Folsom).
At seventeen, the five year veteran of the printing trade was ready for a change. Walt would now become a school teacher for the next few years of his life. He did not want to become a farmer and rebelled at his father's attempts to get him to come back home and run the family farm. In 1838, Walt decided to try his luck at starting up his own newspaper, but within the year it had folded. By 1841, Whitman's teaching days were also over. It was said he was accused of sodomizing one of his students but it was never comfirmed (Price and Folsom).
Now turning to journalism, his poems and short stories were "highly derivative and indistinguishable." (Price and Folsom). Over the next few years Whitman would edit several newspapers and contribute to others. He was later fired from the Brooklyn Eagle because of political differences with the owner. In 1848, Walt traveled down south and for three months worked for the New Orleans Crescent. He was so impressed by what he saw in New Orleans and on his travels it later became a part of his poetry. It was believed that while in New...

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