Through the history of the United States there have been many poets; with them came an equal number of writing styles. Walt Whitman is certainly one of the most unique American poets. Greatly criticized for his view of the world, his works of literature has left a lasting impression on the canon of literature, both good and bad. This paper will review Whitman's poem, ""Leaves of Grass," his writing style, and discuss the controversy that has followed for over one hundred years. .
Whitman's poem, "Leaves of Grass," is considered a masterpiece of American literature. It comprises poems written between 1855 and 1892 that glorify America by looking at the landscape, history, and people through the eyes of a creative thinker. The first poem in "Leaves of Grass" is titled "Song of Myself (Norton)." It is a poem in which Whitman uses attempts to establish the connection between the spirit and the sexual being, which all other writers to that point have always separated. "Clear and sweet is my soul . And clear and sweet is all that is not my soul" (line 44). In this line Whitman is tying together the body and the soul. He feels in order to be a well-rounded individual who is completely happy with one's self, one must not think of sex as immoral, which is proven in the following stanzas, .
"Lack one lacks both . And the unseen is proved by the seen,.
Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn.
Showing the best and dividing it from the worst , age vexes age,.
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they discuss I.
am silent, and go bathe and admire myself" (lines 45-48).
"Song of Myself" can be classified as either romantic, transcendental, or as realism. Whitman uses tenants of all three periods throughout this work. It is obvious that Whitman is a romantic writer. He begins many lines of his poem with I, and he uses references to nature to symbolize his thoughts.