Song of Myself
As suggested in the title, Song of Myself is indeed concerned with the poet's experience. Yet it also is concerned with much more the human condition, nature, and the universe and it is presented through the lens of the poet's unique vision.
Whitman's personality is powerful in the poem his opening lines state that I celebrate myself, and sing myself, / And what I assume you shall assume, / For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. But instead of being a simple statement of egotism, it is a statement of camaraderie. Whitman is symbolically reaching out to the reader, suggesting that they are interconnected even on a molecular level. And from that point on, Whitman is able to expand his concerns to include larger questions of brotherhood, human nature, and death.
Whitman's concern of these questions is unyielding. His observations appear as a series of outbursts and revelations. As a result, the poem may seem to have no apparent organization or guiding principle. Yet closer assessment, one can argue that Song of Myself unfolds carefully as a mystical experience on the part of the poet. And while its tone is ecstatic and its scope is vast, the poem remains grounded in the self, the touchstone around which images swirl.
The mystical experience described in Song of Myself progresses with conviction. In the first five sections of the poem the poet begins to enter into an altered state. He yields to time I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass and as a result, becomes timeless. Romantic entanglements, war and conflict, and illness that touch the poet's life do not necessarily define him: They are not the Me myself. Instead, the poet invites the reader to enter a detached state with him, to Loafe with me on the grass, separate from the confusion of outside forces.
In the sections that follow, the poet experiences an awakening of the self. In this awakened state he begin...