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Walt Whitman

            American transcendentalism was an important movement in philosophy and literature that flourished during the early to middle years of the nineteenth century. It began as a reform movement in the Unitarian church, extending the views of William Ellery Channing on an inner God and the significance of intuitive thought. Unlike the Unitarians, they wanted to rejuvenate the mystical aspects of New England Calvinism. These beginning paved a patch that many others would follow, intentionally or not. Walt Whitman, In part 5 of "Song of Myself", analyzes his inner-self while revealing many aspects of transcendentalism in his poetry.
             In the poem, Whitman shows self-reliance in the line "I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself to you". This line shows that he has confidence in his inner being as a result of good self-feeling, beliefs and abilities according to the transcendental ideas. The line shows that Whitman has explored his inner self in depth and in the process trusts his soul to make good judgments and not to degrade the rest of his person. This is in nearly direct agreement with the transcendental belief that exploration of one's inner self will lead to confidence and good judgment. In the line "And mossy scabs of the worm fence, heap'd stones, elder, mullein and poke-weed" the author writes of his co-existence with the other beings in nature and how he is as much a part of it as they are. By this it could be assumed that he means that he is capable of relying on himself and living off the land as the animals do. In the line "Not words, not music or rhyme I want, not custom or lecture, not even the best | Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice" Whitman shows an appreciation for silence and inner concentration rather than verbal communication with others that would suggest outward concentration. This is transcendental because it shows exploration of one's soul rather than the exploration of others".

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