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Walt Whitman: A Beginner's Guide
Writing a Paper on Whitman
Here is the general understanding of Walt Whitman's Leaves Of Grass.
He is a transcendentalist. He sees into the mystical world, the romantic beauty in both physical objects and the spirit of humankind. He proclaims his individuality, his uniqueness, and every man's capacity for greatness. He is a dreamer. He writes in free verse (unrhymed poetry), and he was the first to do it on a large level. He set a trend. The individuality and the innovative nature of his new form and ethos have been noted to define the American spirit.
So if you want to do okay on a high school paper, put down something like that. But I would also encourage you to take specific examples from the text to back this up. Of course, with Whitman's poetry, just about any verse in any poem has some evidence of what I said in the above paragraph. So go ahead and do this if you want to just get a passing grade.
But you would be missing out on the beauty of someone who arguably set the tone for the contemporary American rock star, the modern news pundit, the dramatic Hollywood actor. This is the age of ME ME ME. And in a sense, Whitman started that. Although I definitely prefer Whitman to the Kardashians.