The celebration of the seemingly mundane and quotidian is a recurrent theme of the poem. Animals, plants and insects find several references. The author employs geographical and ecological markers are part of ‘his’ identity. For example, in line 694, section 32 we see “They [animals] bring me tokens of myself … they evince them plainly in their possession” (line 694). The theme of interconnectedness and interdependency of all life forms is best illustrated in Whitman’s allusions to animal life. Though his work preceded Charles Darwin’s publication of the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, Whitman’s position aligns with the scientific view. The line “I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journeywork of the stars” (Section 31) is remarkably congruent with the theory of evolution. Whitman is also hinting at a larger philosophical point that the individual ego is small and insignificant in the cosmic scheme of things. The poem captures Whitman’s understanding of the nature of the soul. For example, the author has claimed in another publication that
“the soul or spirit transmits itself into all matter–into rocks, and can live the life of a rock into the sea, and can feel itself the sea–into the oak, or other tree—into an animal, and feel itself a horse, a fish, or a bird into the earth–into the motions of the suns and stars.” (Trecker, 2011, p.12)
In conclusion, it is apt to say that Song of Myself exhibits a style that is neither immediate nor abstract. In other words, the style employed by Whitman neither conveys distance nor possess intimacy. Far removed from realism, the poem is a eulogy for the notion of unity under the sweeping grandeur of the cosmos. It is rich in features of psychology, symbolism, characterization and theme.
- Donoghue, Denis. “Of “Song of Myself”” The Hudson Review2 (2012): 247+.
- Genoways, Ted. “Inventing Walt Whitman.” The Virginia Quarterly Review2 (2005): 1+.
- Trecker, Janice Law. “The Ecstatic Epistemology of Song of Myself.” The Midwest Quarterly1 (2011): 11+.