Teacher Guide

Leaves of Grass Lesson Plan

About the Author

Walt Whitman was born into an American working-class farming family in 1819. When Whitman was four, his father moved the family to Brooklyn, New York. During Whitman’s childhood, New York City was still developing into a major urban center, and much of his work alludes to the expansion of this metropolis. Young Whitman often traveled between Brooklyn and Manhattan by ferry, which inspired him to frequently address themes of crossing and gathering in his poetry.

Whitman attended public school in Brooklyn. On weekends and during holidays, he often visited his grandparents on their farm on Long Island—a pastoral setting that provided a stark contrast to the bustling urban...

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