scroll to top
Stuck on your essay?
Get ideas from this essay and see how your work stacks up
Word Count: 1,242
He is even more than Emerson or Thoreau the American Scholar that Emerson called for His greatest achievement was his ability to successfully combine the American quality individualism with democracy Leaves of Grass is a true American epic poem Walt Whitman begins his 1891 version of this masterpiece with the small poem Inscriptions Ones Self I Sing this is beginning is interestingly different to that of the traditional of epic which usually invokes the muse or the divine for inspiration There are two reasons for Whitman to do this one being that the importance of the self in which he puts as the birthplace for poetry To him it is something that comes from the soul freely it is not a divine intervention for inspiration as the muse or the Holy Spirit as was Dantes inspiration The other reason is Whitmans own belief that this poem was to be a truly American epic It is a belief that celebrates the self or the individual as the American dream does in its assumption that anyone can achieve anything in this Land of Opportunity This idea is reflected in the first two lines where the speaker begins with the line Ones-Self I sing there is not a direct reference to a singular speaker although it is written in a first person perspective as he uses the I but a separate person or just A self no person in particular but including everyone and anyone When Whitman speaks of ones self he seems to mean the self as One implying the all-pervading unity that Emerson called the Over soul participant in the Holy Spirit much like Yeats Spiritus Mundi This idea along with the words Democratic and En-Masse in the following line is coupling the American ideal of a separate free and individual person but including that person as part of the whole and having a voice Because we are all part of the Over soul when
@Kibin is a lifesaver for my essay right now!!
- Sandra Slivka, student @ UC Berkeley
Wow, this is the best essay help I've ever received!
- Camvu Pham, student @ U of M
If I'd known about @Kibin in college, I would have gotten much more sleep
- Jen Soust, alumni @ UCLA