Whitman`s"Song of Myself"
Whitman, in his song, presents sentimental ideas as he seeks toinform the reader. In the song, he aims to invite the reader intojoining him in the celebration of various issues that have happenedin his life. Whitman is inviting the reader to celebrate a life thathe has lived, of perfect health. In the song, he states
“I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin, hopingto cease not till death.” (Whitman).
Whitman appreciates the fact that he is in good health and wishes notto pass on. At the moment, he is living a life that is distinguishedand free of any unwelcome happenings. Notably, he confirms the factthat he does not wish to die and would love to remain in perfecthealth. He is inviting the reader into celebrating the healthy lifethat he has led for the past thirty-seven years.
Whitman is also inviting the reader into joining him in speakingagainst the adverse vices in the society. He particularly points tothe fact that there are problems with the environment. Theacknowledgment of the fact that there are potential hazards to theenvironment negates the need to have someone speak against the same.It is out of such sentiments that Whitman states that he should bepermitted to speak against any hazards emphasizing the need to keepcheck of nature. However, in doing so, he invites the reader intosupporting him in his quest to speak against issues that arise. Hestates
“I harbor for good or bad I permit to speak at every hazard,”(Whitman)
Further, the author is inviting the reader into looking at the stateof the schools. The author indicates that the schools have somehownot been used in an efficient manner. The fact that they have beenforgotten negates the need to have something is done about the same.The author reiterates the need to have the reader join in making thesituation right. He states
“Creeds and schools in abeyance, Retiring back a while sufficedat what they are but never forgotten… (Whitman)
The fact that they have not been forgotten is a reminder to have thereader take part in the transformation together.
Finally, the author celebrates good health. Notably, he appreciatesthe fact that he has been able to wake up in bed and see the sunrise.The author is delighted of the privilege he has as pertains to goodhealth.
“The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along thefields and hill-sides, the feeling of health, the full-noontrill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun.”(Whitman)
The author is celebrating the healthy lifestyle and uses the same toinvite the reading into the same.
Knowledge is Power
Indeed, Douglass is right in his sentiments that knowledge is power.He bases his statement on the fact that an individual who gainsknowledge is in a better position to handle various issues that couldarise. The sentiments are reiterated by the sentiments presented inFrederick Douglass’ Chapter VI. In the narrative, he notices thatthere is a difference between slaves working in the plantation andthose living in the city. The difference could be attributed to thelevel of empowerment that either of them had as relates toeducational levels.
“I had resided but a short time in Baltimore before I observed amarked difference, in the treatment of slaves, from that which I hadwitnessed in the country.” (Douglass).
The growing awareness of the importance of knowledge was instrumentalin transforming his life. He noticed that the city slave, who waseducated and knowledgeable knew their rights and privileges. Theaffirmation of such sentiments encouraged the author in his quest tovouch for a better life despite being a slave. The growing awarenesswas essential in helping encourage city slaves to seek empowermentthrough education and acquisition of knowledge (Stover). Further, theacquisition of the skill aided in the determination of the fact thathe understood what he wanted for his life. Unlike what the situationwas at the plantation, he sought to lead a better life by agitatingfor better treatment because he had the knowledge on what hedeserved.
The growing awareness of the skill motivated him into striving togain more knowledge that would help improve his life. Initially, itwas stated that the education of a “nigga” would be detrimentalespecially to the master since it would be difficult to command them.However, through the acquisition of knowledge, a “nigga” will bein a better position to resist any form of injustice. For example, ashe was undergoing the learning process, he got many revelations intowhat knowledge would provide. Slaves have been mistreated for decadesfor lack of knowledge to agitate for equality (Melville, andRinehart). Despite the resistance toward his learning process, theauthor focused on ensuring that he gets the much-needed knowledge tohelp him lead a life that was full of privileges compared to what wasexperienced. Indeed, through the acquisition of knowledge, it wasevident that there were many privileges such as access to betterfood, clothing and humane treatment. The access to such privilegesled him into understanding the fact that once one learned, they willforever be free.
Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass.IndyPublish.com, 2002.
Melville, Herman, and Lucy Rinehart. "The Slave Becomes theMaster in Benito Cereno: An Antislavery Piece Exposing Innate RacistAttitudes Jenna Koretz DePaul University." (2014).
Stover, Johnnie M. "Radical Spiritual Motherhood: autobiographyand empowerment in nineteenth-century African American women."Prose Studies 35.2 (2013): 216-220.
Whitman, Walt. Song of myself. Courier Corporation, 2001.