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Walt Whitman

            In this textbook there are six examples of Walt Whitman's work. Considered one of the most important and influential writers in history, Whitman is the primary inspiration for such writers as Ralph Waldo Emerson and many others after him. .
             Whitman led a very controversial life. Walt Whitman was alive during a time when homosexuality was only considered an act that heterosexual men took part in on occasion. He was one of the first public figures to openly express his homosexuality in an unashamed and proud way. This led to a lifetime of obstacles which he had to overcome to gain widespread acceptance to both the public and to critics. Whitman's work often made mention of his many homosexual experiences and feelings. Often, people who were reading or interpreting his work simply ignored any gay references and dealt with them as if they were heterosexual. This made it much easier for the majority of people in the world to accept Walt's work. Throughout his life though, he still had to struggle with people to look past his sexuality. Many people of the time believed homosexuality to be a sickness which was to be overcome. Homosexuals were considered immoral and corrupt. Whitman only made this struggle harder on himself by flaunting his sexuality unabashed. He had many boyfriends and many affairs with young men from the civil war that he had met while nursing them in Washington area hospitals. It was in those hospitals that Whitman would build strong relationships and meet the people who would eventually take care of him while he grew old and sick. .
             Another of Walt Whitman's greatest burdens was his family. Walt loved his family very much but was constantly troubled by their many problems. Whitman often had to travel back home to his family to be take care of things and be an anchor for them during hard times. He had many brothers and sisters so there was no shortage of problems.

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