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Life of Walt Whitman

             Among the ranks of the most debated writers of American history, Walt Whitman I am sure is among the top 10. He has been considered the poet and writer of the 19th century whose work has been most widely read. Walt Whitman was a writer in a time when American was being tested by many trials, the strength of its ideals. Whitman expressed his feelings on the political state of the nation through many of his poems. Whitman himself seemed to be very much in favor of what America was struggling to achieve, a land where democratic principles were prominent. A land where social injustices would become unheard of, and a place where all men would truly be realized as being equal. Whitman's vast collections of poems, assembled in the books Leaves of Grass (1900) and Drum Taps(1865) express the variability of Whitman's poetic expressions. What I admire about Whitman's" writings is the fact that his writing provokes emotions in one that few other writers try to tamper with. Whitman is deconstructed and constructed constantly, and always differently depending on the person that is doing the constructing. According to Mitchell of the University of Alabama, he's been constructed as the " nationalist, the moralist, the advocate of the family, the prophet, the crusader for liberty, the enemy of social injustice-, and the good g(r)ay poet. (Mitchell) It is the last term that is of much debate today. It seems to be the position of some-to acknowledge his homosexuality and use him as a sort of role model for the homosexual community. While others will attempt to downplay evidence for his homosexuality and minimize its importance. This "G(r)ay "quality of Whitman makes him an interesting character to try and figure out. For this reason, as well as for his importance as a figure of American democracy, I have chosen to discuss Walt Whitman and his works. I will evaluate as well as provide critical references and debate to the character of Walt Whitman, as well as the poems "Song of Myself", "As Adam, Early in the Morning", and "I Hear America Singing".

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