The Song of Myself is a 52-part poem written by Walt Whitman in 1855. In the poem, the speaker praises the human body for its ability to join with self and nature. This union between the body and self provides a religious experience for the speaker and all humanity. The joined self can blend well with nature or stand apart from it. The self can merge with the elements of the universe and nature, resulting in different transformations. Whitman uses symbolism and commentary to portray the continuous cycle of life and death.
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Throughout the poem, the speaker uses symbols to show the connection between life and death. The grass symbol is very prominent in the poem; for example, in line 105, Whitman describes grass as a child produced by vegetation. However, in line 110, the speaker relates grass to the beautiful uncut hair of graves (Whitman, 1855). In this case, grass signifies reproduction that brings about life and simultaneously represents death. The speaker also uses his commentary or opinion to communicate how life and death are intertwined. For instance, in lines 121 to 125, the poet explains what he thinks happens to dead young people, children, and the old (Whitman, 1855). He states the possibility that the dead could be alive and well somewhere else. In lines 126 to 127, Whitman (1855) emphasizes that the smallest sprout indicates that there is no death, and if it ever existed, it would only lead to a forward life. Therefore, through the grass symbol and his commentary, the speaker shows how life leads to death and vice versa.
In conclusion, the poem discusses how people relate to others, nature, and the universe. The speaker uses symbols and his opinions to convey that there is no end to life because when a person dies, their life begins in another place. Therefore, life and death are connected, and one leads to the other. People should be at peace with themselves, others and nature and enjoy life without fearing death.
Whitman, W. (1855). Song of Myself. Web.