Song Of Myself: Divinity, Sexuality And The Self



Through his poetry, Whitman's "Song of Myself" makes the soul sensual and makes divine the flesh. In Whitman's time, the dichotomy between the soul and the body had been clearly defined by centuries of Western philosophy and theology. Today, the goodness of the soul and the badness of the flesh still remain a significant notion in contemporary thought. Even Whitman's literary predecessor, Emerson, chose to distinctly differentiate the soul from all nature. Whitman, however, chooses to reevaluate that relationship. His exploration of human sensuality, particularly human sexuality, is the tool with which he integrates the spirit with the flesh.
Key to this integration is Whitman's notion of ...

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in section five particularly expresses Whitman as a being of desire and libido.
Whitman begins his synthesis of the soul and body through sexuality by establishing a relative equality between the two. He pronounces in previous stanzas, "You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself," and, "Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be less familiar than the rest." Here, he lays foundation for the basic egalitarianism with which he treats all aspects of his being for the rest of the poem. This equality includes not only his sexuality, but in broader terms, his soul and body. In the opening to section five, Whitman explicitly articulates that equality in the context of the body and soul: "I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself to you, And you must not be abased to the other." He refutes the moral superiority of the soul over the flesh historically prevalent throughout Western thought. With that level groundwork ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 8/11/2006 02:47:27 PM
Category: Poetry & Poets
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1236
Pages: 5

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