Wow... Can I say confusing? I read this story three times and I still have no idea what Whitman is talking about. To me, it seems that this has absolutely no flow. He is jumping leaps and bounds and can't stay on a common topic (or at least warn us with a transition of some description when he was about to switch topics on us) However, I sensed a few common themes throughout. The first one I noticed was family. In line 6, I got the sense that Whitman had stayed around the same area that he had grown up in. I felt that he was saying that many generations of his family had lived in that area. By staying there, Whitman shows a strong sense of pride for his family. First confusion factor- In lines 14-17, Whitman mentions something about distallation. In line 22, he says something about vines. My mind immediately went to alcohol distilleries and wine (since it is made from grapes that grow on a vine). Now, I really can't understand why this would be in a section of "Song of Myself" unless Whitman was a raging alcoholic? (And I seriously doubt that) This is probably not even what Whitman was referring to. I felt a strong connection to Emerson throughout this selection of Song of Myself, particularly when Whitman started referring to young people. In line 41, Whitman says that youth or age is plentiful. Emerson placed such an importance on youth in Self Reliance that I think one took cues from the other. Importance on youth should be a big deal. As I mentioned in a previous blog, youth will run this world one day. There is a young man or woman out there who is learning his or her ABC's today and just a few short years down the road could be the president. In line 39, Whitman said that he did not talk of the beginning or the end. Well we are supposed to mention anything these readings remind us of, and this reminded me of a quote from one of my favorite cheesy movies, Hope Floats. Sandra Bullock says this at the end of the film: " Childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome. That's what momma always says. She says that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will..." Sandra Bullock, or Birdie Pruitt as her character in the movie was named, placed the same values on the middle as Whitman did.
Just a few questions to end the post:
Was Whitman referring to love in section 5?
In section 8, what suicide was Whitman referring to? Was the baby killed?