Walt Whitman

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by knichterine
Last updated 4 years ago

Discipline:
Language Arts
Subject:
American Literature

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Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819 to parents Walter Whitman and Louisa Van Velsor. He was the second born out of nine. When he was a child, his family would move frequently in the Brooklyn area because his father was interested in buying and selling real estate in different areas. Walt's grandparents lived in Long Island and he visited them often. Unfortunately, Walt's father was an alcoholic and hot tempered, but he had a special bond with his mother. As a child, Whitman attended public school in Brooklyn for six years and stopped by the time he was eleven. He worked as a painter in New York City until his work place was destroyed by a fire. Later, he worked as a teacher in Long Island from 1836 to 1841. In the mid 1840's, he became a journalist, founded a few different newspapers, and became an editor for other newspapers. In 1855, he copyrighted the first edition of Leaves of Grass, a collection of his own poems. In 1862, he traveled to DC to care for his war-wounded brother. He decided to stay and work for the hospitals in Washington DC for 11 years. He struggled with earning money in Washington DC, so writers in the states and England helped him out by sending him some. In 1870, he suffered a stroke after moving to Camden, New Jersey. He spent his last few years preparing his last volume of poems. Whitman died on March 26, 1892.

Biography

The world below the brine,Forests at the bottom of the sea, the branches and leaves, Sea-lettuce, vast lichens, strange flowers and seeds, the thick tangle openings, and pink turf,Different colors, pale gray and green, purple, white, and gold, the play of light through the water,Dumb swimmers there among the rocks, coral, gluten, grass, rushes, and the aliment of the swimmers,Sluggish existences grazing there suspended, or slowly crawling close to the bottom, The sperm-whale at the surface blowing air and spray, or disporting with his flukes,The leaden-eyed shark, the walrus, the turtle, the hairy sea-leopard, and the sting-ray,Passions there, wars, pursuits, tribes, sight in those ocean-depths, breathing that thick-breathing air, as so many do,The change thence to the sight here, and to the subtle air breathed by beings like us who walk this sphere,The change onward from ours to that of beings who walk other spheres.

Walt Whitman

The World Below the Brine

Leaves of Grass (1855) -Republished many times.Good-Bye, My Fancy (1891)Passage to India (1870)Drum Taps (1865)Sequel to Drum Taps (1865)

Poem Collections and Prose Stories Published

"The World Below the Brine," Whitman is simply narrating the world below the sea. He describes the creatures by color and movement. He emphasizes the fact that the swimmers can not hear or speak, but the sight still sustains them. As he describes the underwater world, he compares and then contrasts it to the world above the sea. The changes are obvious, yet they breathe air like we do. He ends the poem by comparing the differences of the underwater creatures to those who possibly "walk other spheres." Imagery is very present all throughout this poem. You can almost feel yourself swimming underwater with the words provided. There is also a metaphor at the end. He compares the changes of the underwater creatures to those of other planets without using "like" or "as."

Overall, Whitman's work was influenced by events that happened in his own life. In most cases, he took something that really happened to him or that he heard about and made it fictional. For example, he incorporated his experience teaching into "Death in the School Room," a fictional article that he wrote for a newspaper. He also mixed his opinion in along with his past experiences. In his article, he downgrades corporal punishment.

Poem Analysis

Whitman did not receive any awards for his work. However, he was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame and also has schools and bridges named after him. During his work in the hospitals, he made 600 visits and saw over 100,000 patients. Throughout his career as an author, he expanded "Leaves of Grass" from 12 to over 300 poems over time.

Achievements


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