Big Books (Singing Ourselves) Forum


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Singing Ourselves
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: 2003-04-28 13:05:36
Link to this Comment: 5530

We're celebrating the last week of classes by reading together the 1855 version of Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" (pp. 25-86 in Leaves of Grass: his Original Edition). Think Transcendentalism. Think Little Women. Now: what do you think when Whitman opens by saying,
I celebrate myself,
And what I assume you shal assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you....
?


A confusing song
Name: Emily
Date: 2003-04-28 21:36:31
Link to this Comment: 5539

"An individual is the spiritual center of the universe - and in an individual can be found the clue to nature, history and, ultimately, the cosmos itself. It is not a rejection of the existence of God, but a preference to explain an individual and the world in terms of an individual."

This premise from Anne's link reminds me most of "For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you...." I suppose Whitman is taking Transcendentalist views and using them to explain in more common terms how he thinks the universe works, etc. Whitman's opening lines says that we all come from the same matter and will end up as the same matter that will be eternal. I found Transcendentalist views throughout "Song of Myself," especially in part 7: "I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself, (they do not know how immortal, but I know.)" "Song of Myself" is a story/poem that talks about his life but also is rather preachy. What is Whitman's point? Why did he write this text? I feel like it jumps all over the place and is hard to follow. I'm a little confused...


"Song of Myself"
Name: ngoc
Date: 2003-04-28 22:08:07
Link to this Comment: 5541

-I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. (Whitman)

if we are to keep both transcendentalism and the Little Women in mind, I think what Whitman is trying to say is that in this poem he will (and we will along with him) celebrate humanity generally and the self in particular. when he said "..belonging to me as good as belongs to you" he is suggesting that his "self" is also our "self"...to the very last "atom"--possibly despiting all bounderies like gender. i did have a chance to glance at a few of his other poems and i think he writes as much about gender equality as other themes...maybe this is where it is similar to Little Women--humanity (should) surpasses gender, religion, etc...???



Name: melissa
Date: 2003-04-29 09:58:51
Link to this Comment: 5562

So, if we think Transcendentalism as in "extending or lying beyond the limits of normal experience." as it is defined bt Merriam-Webster. It becomes confusing because how do we know what lies beyond normal experience? Is that meant to be taken in a cognitive way? cognitive being based on factual knowledge in other words knowledge that may produce a relation within the mind but has not been done by an individual (it is not a concrete instance). Or rather should we take it in a cultural sense as in knowing or hearing of someone that has actually done something that may relate to these terms or realizing that the action is indeed possible?


Final Class
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: 2003-04-29 11:59:49
Link to this Comment: 5563

To all of you (wondering why you are)
taking Big Books of American Literature this semester--

For Thursday's finale, please revel some more in "Song of Myself"--reading it this time w/ your blood "filtered and fibred" through Whitman's instructions!

Are there passages that speak to you particularly, or others that puzzle you?
Please post those reactions here.

In class on Thursday, Sebastian and Kathy will read "their" passages (there may be time for a few others, so come w/ your candidates!) and we'll figure out together what's happening in those particular stanzas.

Then we will watch two clips from Peter Weir's 1989 film Dead Poet's Society. It refers to Whitman and also discusses "why we should read 19th century literature."

We will end by discussing why WE have/what we've gotten from doing so/whether and in what ways we will continue...

Looking forward to it,
Kathy, Sebastian and Anne


How ironic...
Name: Margaret
Date: 2003-04-29 12:14:47
Link to this Comment: 5564

I found the setting of class today a bit ironic. Here we are together reading Walt Whitman, and attempting to enjoy nature and listen to our inner voices, when I could barely hear myself think, let alone here many other people. The lawnmowers were blasting, the cars were rushing by; I heard the sound of screeching breaks...( i am listing too), but it was ironic. I couldn't enjoy the "overwhelming" power of nature at all. I felt as if I were to have been in the classroom my imagination would have treated the topic, and myself better, done it more justice atleast.
I also commented on the passage, "you shall no longer look through the eyes of the dead" because it struck me. I do feel as though when a person dies that is close to you, it affects you, and thus you see things differently because of them. Death changes your life, but Whitman wants people to "celebrate the self," so how does this relate? Whitman seems to mean that we must go out and live our lives, and not vicariously through others...hmm


i am NOT a part of walt whitman
Name: nancy
Date: 2003-04-29 12:36:29
Link to this Comment: 5565

this is in no way caused by the hard work Orah, Mia, and Julia put into today's class, but i hated it. As we sat, drowned out by lawn mower, SUVs, and every other man-made convenience that seeks to dominate the spring, pondering the nebulous and accostingly sensual ideas of walt whitman, i asked (for the first time) what i was doing. i guess it is a little late to become disillusioned with our big books, but as life went on around us, i felt ridiculous discussing a man who writes that his soul is going down on him. I imagined the people in the cars, talking on cell phones, singing along with the radio, cursing at the other drivers-- what relevance does whitman have to our everyday lives? we can't realistically just abandon our responsibilities and 'experience' things as he implores us to. and, furthermore, there is little evidence to show me that walt whitman truly led the type of life he speaks of. its like in grade school, if you ever saw a teacher outside of class, in the grocery store for example, it was the most disconcerting experience-- i always imagined my that leading class was the only action of my teachers. i guess thats the misconception i have been laboring under with these writers. but i realized, today (and also partly during a conversation margaret, orah and i had a few nights ago) that walt whitman, or any of these writers for that matter, didnt float through life in a surreal state of inhumanity, immune to the mundane tasks of life. no, they had utterly unromantic responsibilities just like any of us. if whitman lived today, he would navigate narrow supermarket aisles with a cart with one stuck wheel, he would clear toilet paper out of his trees after halloween night, and perhaps on a tuesday afternoon he would attack his lawn with his new riding mower.
i think this is why 'supermarket in ca' speaks to me-- the narrator's amazement at the frenetic business of the modern world, and his sorrow for the peacefulness that may or may not have existed long ago as well as a frustration with the masses for ruining the fantasy of 'the lost america of love' because even whitman is susceptible to the lure of flash-frozen vegetables.
whitman doesnt sing me, he doesn't even sing himself, he sings fantastical existence and hope to decieve others into creating his utopia.


today's class
Name: ngoc
Date: 2003-04-29 12:59:04
Link to this Comment: 5566

i enjoyed today's class greatly ...our discussion open up great insight into Whitman's work. i guess i didn't notice those references because i never thought poetry at that time can be so sexual...=]



Name: Samantha D
Date: 2003-04-29 16:33:27
Link to this Comment: 5568

First of all, I think that I just want to say that I really like Leaves of Grass. I think its beautiful, and romantic, even if it is a bit out there. But, I also think that I'm only understanding about half of what he is trying to articulate. And if we really do measure writing by what we get out of it, I don't know if I can qualify this as great, because WHAT Whitman is saying has not left much of an impression on me, instead I remember some linguistically appealing, or catchy segments that I LIKE.
I remember when I turned 13 my grandfather decided he wanted to introduce me to opera because he was convinced I would love it. So, he presented two tickets to me for my birthday to Madame Butterfly. As it turned out, the opera was the same date as my first "formal" dance for school (which I missed), Madame Butterfly,who was described as 14, petite and beautiful, was enormously overweight, and the opera lasted about three hours. In short it was one of the worst nights of my life. I love my grandfather tremendously, and I honestly appreciated what he was trying to do, but still, it was a terrible experience for me. However, the point of my story being,now whenever I hear the music from that opera it literally makes me weepy. The music affected me so much at the time and I never even noticed it happening.

I think that a similar type of thing is happening with Leaves of Grass, at least with me. As much as the idea of Whitman "in my blood" creeps me out, I'm not convinced that its inaccurate. At the time of Madame Butterfly I never in a million years would have thought that I would think about it again, but I've realized that by experiencing it it really did enter into my being, similar to the way Whitman describes himself becoming apart of us through his writing. I'm sure that someday in a few years I'll remember this completely weird experience I had reading Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, but will still be totally enamoured the "linguistically appealing and catchy segments" I've identified for myself as good.


lawnmower (grrr)
Name: Nicole Mar
Date: 2003-04-29 19:20:15
Link to this Comment: 5571

I have to say that in today's class I, like Nancy, was struck by all the man made noise we were exposed to while our class was trying to commune with nature!!!



Name:
Date: 2003-04-29 19:25:26
Link to this Comment: 5572

Just an interesting fact: Kate Chopin's favorite author was Walt Whitman


whitman's sweat glands
Name: orah
Date: 2003-04-29 19:45:39
Link to this Comment: 5573

nancy, i don't think the fact that whitman actually had to brush his teeth, detracts from his poety, on the contrary, i think that i makes his poetry much better. whitman proves that one does not need to live a non- human life to feel divine. we are the divine, he says. "divine i am inside and out, and i make holy whatever i touch / or am touch'd from, / the scent of these arm-pits aroma finer than prayer..." Whitman sweats!!!! and, likewise, i suspect that anne does not sleep on the floor of english house.
i am very intriged by whitman's view of death. i read the last stanza of song of myself as whitman's unfocusing from the body. this is the craziest idea of death that i have ever heard. but it is so reassuring. each atom in his body becomes detached and floats into the world. so of course 'every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.' if the body is the consentration of atoms that belong to everyone then a person's body is communal. when whitman dies he is in the air, in every breath. this is the ultimate solution to lonliness, those you love will never be gone because they will be in every breath you take. they will be in your blood.

dead souls wait for us.
they rest in the sunlight that basks beside us. that's a warm, safe place.
i don't think anything could make he happier.


whitman
Name: Maggie
Date: 2003-04-30 12:08:26
Link to this Comment: 5578

I think I feel a little offended by what Whitman is telling us to do. We clearly discussed the paradox of him telling us not to listen to him but to go out and have our own experiences, yet if we did that we would be listening to him...

But what bothers me more directly is that he is defining what qualifies as experiences. By telling us not to read poetry, but to go out and experience the world, he is saying that reading poetry is not an experience. It may not be as interesting as having your soul give you head... ? ... but I think I would argue that reading poetry is just as much of an experience. And personally, the one I would rather have.


Amorous Love
Name: Anne Dalke
Date: 2003-04-30 14:23:43
Link to this Comment: 5579

Because I like (and want to model!) giving credit where credit is due...I thought I should mention what D. H. Lawrence says in his "Whitman" chapter of Studies of American Literature, because surely this lay behind both the critique and the celebration of "Song of Myself" I was trying to share w/ you yesterday:

"Walter, leave off....You are just a limited Walter. And your ache doesn't include all Amorous Love, by any means. If you ache you only ache with a small bit of amorous love, and there's so much more stays outside... that you might be a bit milder about it.

I AM HE THAT ACHES WITH AMOROUS LOVE.
CHUFF! CHUFF! CHUFF!
CHU-CHU-CHU-CHU-CHUFF!

Reminds one of a steam-engine. A locomotive. They're the only things that seem to me to ache with amorous love. All that steam inside them. Forty million foot-pounds pressure. The ache of AMOROUS LOVE. Steam-pressure. CHUFF!

....American art...is all essentially moral....Tight mental allegiance given to a morality which the passionate self repudiates. Whitman was the first to break the mental allegiance. He was the first to smash the old moral conception that the soul...is something 'superior' and 'above' the flesh....Whitman was the first heroic seer to seize the soul by the scruff of her neck and plant her down...in the flesh. Stay in the limbs and lips and in the belly. Stay in the breast and womb. Stay there, Oh, Soul, where you belong....The great home of the Soul is the open road....Not 'above.' Not even 'within'....It is the wayfarer down the open road.

Whitman is a very great poet, of the end of life. A very great post-mortem poet, of the transitions of the soul as it loses its integrity. The poet of the soul's last shout and shriek, on the confines of death....we have all got to die, and disintegrate....Only we know this much: Death is not the goal.

Love, and Merging, brought Whitman to the Edge of Death! Death! Death!
But the exultance of his message still remains. Purified of MERGING, purified of MYSELF, the exultant message of American Democracy..., when one soul sees a great soul.

The only riches, the great souls."


catalogs
Name: Julia
Date: 2003-04-30 18:10:01
Link to this Comment: 5585

I have found Whitman's poetry really hard to get through with the catalogs that we discussed yesterday in class. Some I am able to find relevance for while others seem disjointed from the text surrounding them. Despite how annoying at times the seemingly disjointed nature many be, I find myself understanding that he could be following a train of thought through the leaps many of us make while thinking.


Not-so-obvious sex?
Name: Julia
Date: 2003-04-30 18:20:19
Link to this Comment: 5586

When I first started reading the poem over the weekend I was somewhat shocked by how obvious Whitman was in his descriptions of sexual encounters. I certainly didn't catch all of them, but I found myself overwhelmed by what I did get. I told my friends Sunday morning that in reading Whitman before they arrived I had read too much sex for a morning.
The obvious nature of the text seemed to wear away the more I read. I think that in reading the text as quickly as I did the focus was too much on finishing, not allowing me to devote the time to fully experiencing all of the second half of the poem. For a better encounter with Whitman I would recommend a longer time for the reading. I'm sure that examples of seemingly obvious sex were not the only parts of the text I missed in my rushed reading at the end of the semester.



Name: Natalie Ab
Date: 2003-04-30 22:52:44
Link to this Comment: 5591

I think this poem speaks to Whitman's tremendous bravado, his conviction that the experience he has is the most important, that he is able to state "And what I assume you shal assume." Dickinson & Whitman both situated themselves as outsiders, by virtue of their innovative styles. Dickinson lets her poetry get inside of the reader on its own, whereas I felt like Whitman was shoving it in my face at times (ie ha, ha, look what I can do!)

I'm Nobody! Who are you? (288)
by Emily Dickinson

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you—Nobody—Too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise—you know!

How dreary—to be—Somebody!
How public—like a Frog—
To tell one's name—the livelong June—
To an admiring Bog!



Name: orah
Date: 2003-04-30 23:09:46
Link to this Comment: 5592

emily dickinson is so cute ;)



Name: Eric Seide
Date: 2003-05-01 00:54:26
Link to this Comment: 5593

I am happy to see that we will be watching a scene from Dead Poet's Society tomorrow (can we watch the whole thing??). It is one of my favorite movies. When we read some of Leaves of Grass in class on Tuesday, I was instanltly reminded of the scene where a young Ethan Hawke comes to grips with his intense fear of not being good enough by letting out a "barbaric yawp" in class and also of how Dead Poets Society refers back to Walt Whitman many times. I think that focusing on the sexual imagery in "Song of Myself" is taking the easy way out. There is so much more in there, and to focus on immature sexual fancies strikes me as a total waste of time. I guess it is unrealistic to expect us to interact with the text in the same way as Ethan Hawke did, but I guess I can be optimistic like Emily...



Name: Emily
Date: 2003-05-01 01:18:35
Link to this Comment: 5594

"A child said What is the grass? Fetching it to me with full hands,
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is anymore than he."

Just like Phil's comment and the poem we read in class, this stanza discusses the idea that children can know as much as adults. I also found it interesting because it is contradictory to the idea that Whitman is overconfident and assumes to know everything. Perhaps this is his way of telling us not to believe everything he says because he does not know as much as he might seem to know to a reader.


Song of Myself
Name: Barbara sp
Date: 2003-05-01 06:54:24
Link to this Comment: 5596

I really loved this poem and never felt violated in any way. I think two readings is am almost impossible task, and look forward to spending some time this summer with Whitman, by the pond just reading him loudly to myself. His exuberance, his wonderful metaphors and, above all his, celebation and optimism of life and death were wonderful. I felt as though I were watching (or listening to) a fireworks display in which the fireworks keep going off with a whoosh and exploding into lights that go off into little showers of their own explosions that come cascading down. Even the cataloguing parts delighted me.


walt as jesus?
Name: Nicole Mar
Date: 2003-05-01 07:28:40
Link to this Comment: 5597

The portions of song of myself that i most enjoyed were the spaces that Whitman seems to write himself as a chirstlike figure in a sacreligious way!

20 - "I know i am deathless
I know this orbit of mine cannot be swpt away by a carpenter's compass"

24 - "Divine am I inside and out, and i make holy whatever i touch or am touch'd from
The scent of these arm-pits aroma finer than prayer
This head more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds"

38 - "That i could forget the mockers and insults!
That I could forget the trickling tears and the blows of the bludegeons and hammers!
That I could look with a seperate look on my own crucifixion and bloody crowning"

I find something almost sensual about whitman's innvocation of Christ. I love that he claims to embody everything and everyone - even throughout time. There is something truely delicious about making yourself godlike and not finding any fault with it. Since he is godlike - the reader is godlike by association since the two are one according to whitman.



Name: ngoc
Date: 2003-05-01 12:51:17
Link to this Comment: 5600

returning and looking at whitman one last time today really make me enjoy his poetry much more than before. i do not find him imposing or too self-righteous at all. i think it is refreshing to have someone like that to lighten up humanity because (of my belief, religion) life is already filled with too much suffering...



Name: kathy
Date: 2003-05-01 21:02:17
Link to this Comment: 5603

I agree with ngoc, I feel Whitman is somehow refreshing with his unrelenting belief in humanity. Although I didn't really enjoy reading it the first time through, by going through it in class, I did notice both the good and the bad. Sometimes he does seem imposing, I do agree with that, but he also has this great hope for everyone... that everyone can be so much more than they are already... kind of hard to say thats a bad thing...



Name: Samantha D
Date: 2003-05-02 15:54:24
Link to this Comment: 5605

I am glad to see that everybody is seeming a bit more appreciative of Whitman then earlier this week. When I first read the Song of Myself, I absolutely loved it, and wasn't offended by the poems by any stretch of the word. I actually felt this tremendous need to defend Whitman, because I felt like the class's disapproval of him was sort of a reflection of a flaw in me because I liked it so much. I saw Whitman's writing as all inclusive. Leaves of Grass is one of the few things I have read that did not seperate the author as this qualified intellectual demanding respect from his "students." I felt like Whitmans concession that children and adults possess the same knowledge, that men are really all the same, and that by celebrating himself he celebrates everyone, invited me to join his thought process instead of just being expected to read and admire him for it. I also liked that Leaves of Grass wasn't just cheerful, it was incredibly hopeful for the future. It seems like so much of modern entertainment feels the need to qualify itself as drama, and in that process it becomes sad, and moody, and even depressing. I guess that Leaves of Grass was a nice change.


Margaret as the blindfolded boy
Name: Margaret
Date: 2003-05-05 19:43:09
Link to this Comment: 5618

Watching "Dead Poet's Society" and relating it to Whitman for our last classroom experience was great. Why? Well, for me Robin Williams is the type of teacher we all hope to have in our lifetimes; one who will give you a new perspective on life, and change you forever. I felt that the scenes we watched were similar to some of my experiences in Big Books. I felt pushed, and because of the push (this push is an idea proposed) from Anne,I was driven to share the ideas I thought of in class. I wasn't scared anymore...like the boy who looks at Whitman, and then spills out his thoughts to the class, I tried to do the same. I wanted to propose ideas in class to see how people would respond to them. Anne's ideas did spark a new way of me thinking about the books we read. The texts and the classroom, to me, were an inspiration, like the blind folded boy in the movie I read the works and wanted to spill all my ideas I had buried in my brain out to the class. This was exciting, and I felt unashamed afterward, much like the boy in the movie. As for Whitman, well, he added an interesting dimension to the class- Anne raised an idea for me that I shouldn't do this in the classroom, but go out and experience this in life. But then I felt like this classroom was more like life than other artificial classroom settings...so thanks Walt.


Whitman
Name: Monica
Date: 2003-05-07 11:43:25
Link to this Comment: 5629

Watching Dead Poet's Society was a great way for us to analyze Whitman's work. Kathy and Sebastian did a great job on their presentation!:) Ironically in my Into to African Lit class a classmate of mine mentioned Whitman's work in comparison to one of the books we have been reading. I was glad that I knew what she was talking about and that I could contribute to the conversation. I have never read any of Whitman's work until this semester which I am happy I did!! Sitting on the grass and reading Whitman's poetry was more effective than just reading it in the classroom. The environment made listening and comprehending Whitman's poems more interesting. I just feel that being able to just soak all of Whitman's words was easier when we were relaxed outside. Even though The Awakening is my favorite book that I have read the whole semester, I thought that reading Whitman was important and beneficial in my learning experience. This is because even though he may seem to be lecturing us all the time from a high pedestal, I think that his words are important especially after hearing them for awhile.


Whitman and the Homoerotic
Name: Jillian
Date: 2003-05-08 23:02:07
Link to this Comment: 5637

I've been thinking about how many of us missed a lot of the sexual language in Leaves of Grass and I wonder if it's because it is not heterosexual sex. We are so used to male-female sexuality, that perhaps we are unable to recognize homosexual sexuality. I read the first third of leaves of grass not knowing Whitman was gay, then my friend told me he was and when reading the rest of the poem, I picked up on a lot of not-so-subtle sexuality. I reread the first third and found an incredible amount of homosexual imagery and especially male sexuality that I just didn't pick up on before. For example:

Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore,
Twenty-eight young men, and all so friendly;
Twenty eight years of womanly life, and all so lonesome.


rereading whitman
Name: Phil
Date: 2003-05-14 14:20:02
Link to this Comment: 5664

I too missed much of the sexual references in Leaves of Grass. Our discussion in class forced me to reread many passages, which appeared completely different:
"Span of youth! Ever-pused elasticity! Manhood balanced and florid and full!
My lovers suffocate me!
Crowding my lips, and thick in the pores of my skin."

I think Jillian's point is very interesting; that perhaps because it is not heterosexual we did not really notice it. I think also that is just unexpected. None of the other literature we dealt with over the semester has had much in the way of overt sex.


walt
Name: kati
Date: 2003-05-14 14:55:04
Link to this Comment: 5669

I had been dreading reading Walt Whitman all semester long. I don't know why, but for some reason I had gotten it stuck in my head that I really couldn't stand him. Well, good surprise for me, I really liked the poetry! "Song of Myself" It just sounds like it will be amazing. I'm glad that we were instructed to buy an editon containing only the first printing of it. I posted earlier on how I didn't think that a book could express the definitive self. I still don't think that a book can, but what it can do is expess the momentary self--who you are at that time. Obviously the self will change over time, but for that instant those words can describe you. I think I can understand why Whitman felt compelled to continue revising the poem; his self was completely revised all of the time. So it's not the poem that was the problem, it was the title. "Song of Myself written by Walt Whitman" Maybe if he had left his name off of it he could have let it be, but with his name attatched to it readers would always consider "song of myself" to be the ultimate definition of Whitman. I can see how that could be a problem for him.



Name: Eric Seide
Date: 2003-05-15 03:26:12
Link to this Comment: 5675

While on a train coming from New York the other day, I was finally able to sit and give Leaves of Grass the attention it deserved. Talk about wow. I wasn't able to do much reading of it during class because I had major assignments due for other classes, but looking back, I am definitely disappointed that we spent so much time talking about the sexual allusions and homosexuality. There is SO much more than that going on. I think that Whitman is really celebrating America and what it means to be an American. People from Europe and Asia and Africa and even Canada really cannot understand what it means, but Whitman captures it perfectly. I love Leaves of Grass.



Name: Sebastian
Date: 2003-05-15 17:57:55
Link to this Comment: 5689

While I did not particularly enjoy the sexual focus that we took with Whitman and Leaves of Grass, I did enjoy many parts of the book itself. I enjoyed the examinations of the shared consciousness of Americans. In particular I enjoyed the sense of pride that I felt from these sections. It was nice to feel happy and proud to be American while at the same time feeling pride for my Polish heritage. It is nice to know that I can have both.



Name: Melissa
Date: 2003-05-16 09:18:20
Link to this Comment: 5698

I would have to say that I agree with sebastian as far as not liking the sexual focus that we took on the book. I did however enjoy the outside texts that we brought in. And it was nice to read poetry outside it seemed to give it more of a free open feeling that really encompassed the body of the material, no pun intended.


too much
Name: Taka Kawan
Date: 2003-05-16 16:25:57
Link to this Comment: 5716

When we read this poem outside, I thought that the class was quite different from the ones we had had for the past few months. Anne asked many questions regarding the understanding of "contents" to us, and we all tried to "get the answer" from her. I felt really strange after having experienced the classes with multi-directional flow of perspectives between all of us, but this time we were talking only to Anne. It is probably due to the nature of this poem; first of all the lines are mostly abstract and it really takes a lot of reading to fully understand what Whitman is saying. Since Anne has more experience in reading this, our attention naturally pointed toward her more than usual. Secondary, I thought it was potentially not appropriate for reading this book in our course, since the direction of information/perspective is almost exclusively uni-directional (from the author), and our choice was to accept his assertion (or harassment or whatever) or not. If you accept it, you are the lucky one and can go further, but if you refuse it you are completely left out of the book, since there is no alternate choice for reading this book. This is actually my second time reading this poem. When I read it first I was simply amused with figuring out each meaning of the lines, which was mostly provided by outside source (like professor and other students.) But this time when I was asked to accept his invitation, I couldn't let him be inside me, so I was eventually left out.





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