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Walt Whitman's Writings Essay

1505 words - 6 pages

Walt Whitman's Writings
*Missing Works Cited*

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"Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am, stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary… (Whitman 38) ." This line expresses Walt Whitman's philosophy on life and is an almost perfect description of the poet. He was a man, who in his poetry, expressed independence, interdependence with other living things, and the struggles that are dealt with by him and others in order to gain that independence. He felt and wrote that it is important to stand up for the things in which one believes in. Walt Whitman gives much insight into himself and others in his poetry, and gives his readers a great deal to think about. In general, it could be said that Whitman very much believed in the individual and felt that one's strengths, whatever they may be, could be utilized and manipulated into something meritorious.
Walter Whitman was born and raised in New York City, and spent most of his adult life in that area. At the age of twelve, Whitman began his journalism career as a printer's apprentice and very quickly worked himself up to the top. In 1846, at the age of 23, was hired as the editor of the Brooklyn Daily newspaper; however, two years later he was fired because he was an adamant supporter of the Free Soil faction of the Democratic party. He moved to New Orleans to work for the Crescent, a local paper, only to move back to New York three months later. Whitman dabbled around in free soil journalism for awhile, but that didn't work out and this brought him to the close of his career as journalist ("Whitman, Walt" 639) .
At this point his life took a very significant turn and he began developing into the poet he would soon become. For five years Walt Whitman followed in his father's footsteps, and began building houses and investing in real estate. Whitman became a
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very promising businessman and began to have more time on his hands. He attended the opera and theater, and began to read and write tremendously, out of which he developed his own style of free-verse poetry. In 1855, Walt Whitman embarked upon his career as a poet when he published his incipient edition of "Leaves of Grass (Callow 78) ."
Whitman was not able to find a publisher who would take on the project, so he was forced to publish the work at his own expense. Whitman's first book received mixed reviews due to the subject matter of the material. Many critics claimed that "Leaves of Grass" was immoral and trashy, because of the many sexual innuendoes and references to prostitutes and people of low stature (Whitman xvi) . It is also important to note that the poetry of Walt Whitman was unlike any of his contemporaries. First of all, Whitman's poetry almost never contained a rhyme scheme and secondly, he used language of the "common man." In the last few verses of "Song of Myself", for example, he glorifies the differences between himself and others by writing, "I too am not a bit tamed,...

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