Through the history of the United States there have been a countless numbers of poets. With them came an equal number of writing styles. Certainly one of the most unique poets to write life's story through his own view of the world and with the ambition to do it was Walter Whitman. Greatly criticized by many readers of his work, Whitman was not a man to be deterred. Soon he would show the world that he had a voice, and that it spoke with a poet's words. Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, Healthy, free, the world before me, the long brown path before me leading wherever I choose. .
Thus Whitman began his "Song of the Open Road". This paper will attempt to describe his life and poetry in a way that does justice to the path he chose. He was a man who grew up impoverished, who wrote from his experiences, and who tried to lift his fellow men above life's trivialities. These are the points to be discussed on these pages. To know the essence of Walter Whitman, you would have to understand the heart of his writing. For he is in his pen.
Walter Whitman was born in West Hills, Long Island, New York, on May 31, 1819 . He did not have much opportunity for education in his early life. His parents were mostly poor and illiterate- his father a laborer, while his mother was a devout Quaker. Whitman was one of nine children and little is known about his youth except that two of his siblings were imbeciles. No wonder he demonstrated such an insight for life in his poems.
In 1830, at the age of eleven, he worked as an office boy for a lawyer, where he learned the printing trade. Whitman would soon take up teaching at various schools in Long Island. He also engaged in carpentry and house building while he edited newspapers. His early years seemed to show an active interest in working with the public. .
Whitman at one time accepted a job with a New Orleans newspaper, and in doing so exposed himself to a great deal of the country.