Leaves of Grass
The Thrust of Nature: An Examination of Walt Whitman's Poetic Realm
Walt Whitman's "Spontaneous Me" (Norton 2151-2152) crystallizes his attempt to create poems that appear natural, impulsive and untamed. The natural effect is a carefully crafted technique that appears throughout his writing, hinting at a philosophy of life while seeming to simply offer observation. As in "Song of Myself," Whitman weaves together carefully chosen images to create the illusion of untamed totality. What is important about his complete vision is that it seems somehow essential, as though a natural state is unveiled. He crafts a language that stems from natural rhythms, like the familiar feel of breathing. Human impulses become universal pulses and vice versa. This creates an elemental rhythm that governs the craft of the poem and much of its subject matter. "Spontaneous Me" is a deeply erotic meditation on the self. An important aspect of the poem is its whispered confessional quality. There is the sense that Whitman is searching for answers, if not redemption. The natural world provides the necessary soothing, making his poem a self-reflexive examination of the human as an earthbound element. The poem answers itself, by paralleling the greater natural world, which is established...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 893 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7018 literature essays, 1932 sample college application essays, 289 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in