Poetic Style of Walt Whitman in Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, One’s Self I Sing and Facing West from California’s Shores

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The 19th century was turning point for American literature, The 19th century for the many revolutionary changes that have been documented in American literature. American Writers have shifted away from the 18th century Puritan literary Style of writing, Writers who wrote about the American Experience and how it affected each individual. Many of these American Writers described the life of the new worlds. The best literature captured the essence of life post—Revolutionary era. For example, authors no longer copied the British style of formal writing, however, develop their own way of speaking. Also the revolutionary. Beginning of the fascination with science, nature, freedom, and innovation, which is depicted in much different literature, Walt Whitman was an American poet, who was referred to as the ” father of free verse”.

Although he did not create free verse, he broke the boundaries of poetic form, imagery, themes and symbols that were unlike any other poet in his time. Whitman altered poetry as we once knew it to be rhythmic and structured, Whitman the Poetry by going against the traditional dictation style that Europeans elevated to Americans. Some of his most iconic poems included; ” Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”, ” One’s self I sing”, and “Facing west from California’s Shores”. After the death of Walt Whitman, many American poets and writers used his work as inspiration. Poets even noted Whitman as ” a major influence” and even stated ” He 15 America”.

Walt Whitman’s poems demonstrate a comprehensive number of emotions that compose well-rounded piece literature, that is embedded in American history. A few examples of emotions that Whitman exhibits and his poems include; passion, hope, and unity. These three motions help contribute distinctive nature and intensity that manifest in each of his poems. Walt Whitman ONE’S-SELF l sing—-a simple, separate Person; Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-masse. Of Physiology from top to toe I sing; Not physiognomy alone, nor brain alone, is worthy for the muse–I say the Form complete is worthier far; The Female equally with the male I sing. The poem “One’s self I sing” is a short, nine-line poem that depicts individuality Whitman sets the tone of this poem by opening the theme of individualism from the first few lines “One’s self I sing” means to be living in a ”New World” but also having uniqueness in a society of similarity.

In the first two lines, the unit of self is connected to the communal Democratic self, Being your own person, your own body, mind and soul are significance to being a part of society. The speaker has to show self-awareness to not get lost in a world of uniformity, Whitman evokes passion in this poem specifically in lines 3-4, he mentions the theme of the human body. In Whitman’s characterization of the human body, body and Soul are ultimately connected as one. To Whitman, the human soul was only effective if there was a body. Whitman did not believe in any religion, but he believed No One Faith was more important than another. His passion for the equality of other religions helped to shape his ideology of individualism. If everyone’s beliefs are important, then everyone is important to society to some extent.

The title of the poem “One‘s self I sing”(Whitman 1) implies an ode to the individual. The Passion that evokes in this poem about self-identity begins in the title This Poem was written around the time when America was at the peak of becoming what it is today. This is significant because Americans feel a sense of passion about their American identity, therefore Whitman reinforces this idea of Passion by originating the American individualism. According to Whitman, “The modern man” is aware of his individualism but also knows his sense of “En-masse” in the Democratic nature. Passion is a strong interest, and in this poem the passion being depicted is about the perspective of one’s identity, A person can be a part of society but never have a sense of self, unless he or she realizes the importance of individualism.

In this poem, Whitman uses passion as a form of expressing his beliefs that all humans are one, but also very unique and hold the ability to connect with the Democratic self Facing West from California’s Shores FACING west, from California’s shores, Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound, I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity, the land of migrations, look afar, Look off the shores of my Western Seaithe circle almost circled; For, starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales of Kashmere, 5 From Asiaifrom the north from the God, the sage, and the hero, From the south—from the flowery peninsulas, and the spice islands; Long having wandered since round the earth having wander‘d, Now I face home again—very pleased and joyous.

But where is what I started for, so long ago? 10 And why is it yet unfound?) “Facing west from California’s Shores” not only describes the westward expansion of America, but also touches on the discovery of the world too. The poem begins with title “Facing west from California’s Shores”. Generally, when a poem repeats the title, information deserves to be repeated because it has some significance to the theme of the poem, California is significant to the reader because around the time this poem was written, California became the Blst state in America. The speaker of this poem is both young and old “I, a child very old” (Whitman 3) because he can be someone who has experienced a lot in his lifetime, The speaker can also detect America personified.

The theme of Hope comes into play after the last few lines of the poem. Despite looking and looking, traveling Westward to the shores of the Pacific, the speaker has still not found what he is searching for it. Thing to find a sense of belonging, a sense home, and a sense of conformity, After thinking of all those Western countries, I have not found what he is looking for. The speaker feels ” very pleased and joyous” for looking out across the sea, he still does not have his answert Hoping to find a sense of belonging is difficult for the speaker because the frontier the West, has not been his land of opportunity. He gets to the West Coast having experienced America as a frontier of disappointment ” why is it yet unfound?” the speaker and off with a question to the reader that Ponder finding what he is looking for Crossing Brooklyn Ferry Flood-tide below me!

I see you face to face! Clouds of the west’s there half an hour highil see you also face to face. It avails not, time nor place—distance avails not, I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence, Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt, Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd, Just as you are refresh‘d by the gladness of the river and the bright flow, I was refresh‘d, Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the swift current, I stood yet was hurried. Just as you look on the numberless masts of ships and the thick—stemmed pipes of steamboats, I look’d. I too many and many a time cross‘d the river of old, Watched the Twelfth-month sea-gulls, saw them high in the air floating with motionless wings, oscillating their bodies, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” was written before the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge during the 19th century.

In this poem, Whitman stresses the importance of unity and shared experiences. The speaker mentions that many have completed this journey before him and many will travel the same route after he is gone, The idea that many will travel the same route gives the speaker comfort that there will never be much change through time Although time will change many things, the experience of feeling a journey back home after a long day at work will always be just the same to every individual. No matter how you travel, the commute to and from work will always be something shared by every single human, The speaker tries to connect the future, the present, and the past into one feeling of unity.

All humans have the same basic needs and desires Whitman believes that the world will not look substantially different in the next 100 years. In the third stanza, the speaker says ” it avails not, Lime nor place – distance avails not, with you, man and woman of a generation, so many generations hence”. The speaker here is directly speaking to the reader and telling us that no matter what time period, we are all the same, connected by feelings The speaker is trying to grasp the future readers, by connecting them to shared experiences. The speaker made his journey Universal by emphasizing the inherent and enduring connection between man and Society. He is stressing the importance of human connections and being a part of a community.

No matterhow big or small our issues in life are, we are very small in the grand scheme of life itself. If Whitman has any recurring styles in his poems, it is present in these three poems analyzed in this essay. A common theme shared by these poems is shared experiences which correspond to sharing emotions Each poem manifests a different type of distinctive nature and intensity by allowing these shared experiences to ultimately demonstrate literature that has shaped American history Unity, hope, and passion compose a thoughtful depiction of how strongly Whitman feels about America in his poems, Ultimately, Whitman expresses a favorable sense of emotions that help provide strong pieces of literature that can be used as influential forms of poetry.


Cite this paper

Poetic Style of Walt Whitman in Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, One’s Self I Sing and Facing West from California’s Shores. (2023, Jun 19). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/poetic-style-of-walt-whitman-in-crossing-brooklyn-ferry-ones-self-i-sing-and-facing-west-from-californias-shores/

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