Interestingly, although Walt Whitman presents his poem a song of myself in first person narration, he implicitly expresses the theme of democracy. Reflecting on the social and political environment in America during the nineteenth century, he uses collective terms to pass his message to the audience.
Whitman writes his poem in free verse style for clarity and easier expression of his mind. Succinctly, he applies a simple style in his poem to emphasize on the aspect of humanity, which the American society had just embraced. Whitman combines both his artistic and poetic nature to honor and appreciate societal apprehension of democracy as critically analyzed in the next discussion.
By reading the first line of the first stanza “I CELEBRATE myself and sing myself” (Loving), the first impression the audience gets is that the poet is focusing on an individual’s life. However, as the poem unfolds the audience understands that Whitman is appreciating and honoring the democracy that prevails in America. For instance, in the seventh line of the seventh stanza, Whitman writes, “I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself “(Loving).
Intuitively, he is using his own personality or character to confirm the spirit of togetherness that is common in his society. According to Whitman, all people regardless of the race are equal thus; he is not only appreciating the spirit of democracy but also compelling the society to embrace the same. Therefore, Whitman uses the poem, writing it in a unique style to call for a change in the social lives of the Americans.
Furthermore, he couples a free verse style, first person narration with a unique rhythmic pattern to elaborate his message. For instance, in section one, he writes in a rhythmic nature when he says, “Houses and rooms are full of perfumes” (Loving), to show the happiness that democracy brings in households.
The application of phrases in plural form brings out the rhythm in the poem. Moreover, he applies many collective words in the poem, which highlight the issue of unity. For example, in stanza thirty-one he says, “And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren” (Loving line I). In addition, he constantly refers to grasses, which highlight togetherness. Authentically, grass and sand cannot exist singularly thus; his cautious choice of words is to motivate people to continue practicing democracy.
On the other hand, Whitman uses his experience in journalism to express his feelings about the socio-political aspects present in the society. Professionally, Whitman had acted as an instructor and a journalist with a specialty in editing articles. Therefore, his poem entailed artistic qualities due to professionalism. Literary, although he embarked on a unique writing style, the theme, rhythm, tone and other features of literature seem perfectly expressed.
In brief, from the title of the poem the song of myself, an individual may be unable to unravel the message the poem is yet to express. However, through his eloquent choice of words, Whitman expresses his satisfaction in democracy.
Besides, using the first person narration to express his message he explicitly uses the free verse style of writing that was rare in the literary world during his time. Critically, when compared to other literary works, Whitman’s poem is not only perfect but it is also important in learning institutions especially where American literature is in the curriculum.
Loving, Jerome. Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself. California: University of California Press, 1999. Print