Research Project Title

Whitman's Use of Dualism in His Poems of Identity

Session Type

Traditional Paper Presentation

Research Project Abstract

Many of Walt Whitman’s poems in Leaves of Grass center on the themes of the nature of identity and the relationship between life and death. Whitman juxtaposes the individual and the universal, presenting human nature as dualistic or fragmented, and often seeming to contradict himself, but, in doing so, actually strengthening his own arguments. By explicating sections of “Song of Myself,” “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking,” “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” and “O Me! O Life!,” this essay explores Whitman’s various perspectives on division within identity as well as his assorted attitudes toward the cyclical relationship between life and death, with the intent of helping to clarify some of Whitman’s apparent discontinuities.

Session Number

RS1

Location

Weyerhaeuser 203

Abstract Number

RS1-a

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Apr 28th, 9:15 AM Apr 28th, 10:45 AM

Whitman's Use of Dualism in His Poems of Identity

Weyerhaeuser 203

Many of Walt Whitman’s poems in Leaves of Grass center on the themes of the nature of identity and the relationship between life and death. Whitman juxtaposes the individual and the universal, presenting human nature as dualistic or fragmented, and often seeming to contradict himself, but, in doing so, actually strengthening his own arguments. By explicating sections of “Song of Myself,” “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking,” “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” and “O Me! O Life!,” this essay explores Whitman’s various perspectives on division within identity as well as his assorted attitudes toward the cyclical relationship between life and death, with the intent of helping to clarify some of Whitman’s apparent discontinuities.