HON 272 Romantic Poetry The speaker in Whitman's Song of Myself is not Whitman. I would suggest that it is not even a man. Whitman's speaker is many people, or at least something that extends beyond what a "man" is. Whitman's speaker contradicts himself, he is large, he contains multitudes. He is not contained between his hat and his boots. Every atom belongs to him. What is the speaker offering, exactly, at the beginning of the poem? Wisdom? Something like wisdom? He says, "Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems." I believe the "day and night" are a lifetime. He also promises "the good of the earth and sun," which I don't understand, as I see the physical world as amoral. He, apparently, doesn't. On the whole, the speaker appears to offer the ability to draw one's own conclusions, without the aid of any dead thinker or book--without, paradoxically, the aid of the speaker, though he is making the offer. He asks, at the end, "Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of the evening, (Talk
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