The protagonist or main character of the story (actually a poem) is Walt Whitman. He talked about different viewpoints and personas and even have some radical ideas about the nature and identity of self, sexuality, spirituality, and democracy. The main conflict lies in Whitman’s obsession with good and how his confrontation with a child about the nature of the grass had led him to identify everything in the universe. The poem is more complex as Whitman’s style of writing includes juggling of images, ideas, characters, and symbols.
Whitman’s identity is somewhat mythic. To reveal his character, he used ordinariness to uniqueness which is acceptable to all. The character is divided into three parts, namely: the “I”, the “Me Myself” and the “Soul”. Themes that were included in the poem are both implicitly and explicitly stated. In section 6 of the book, a child who asked Whitman what the grass is had made Whitman use symbolism for regeneration and democracy. Whitman developed the analogy that like the grass, democracy is everywhere and the youth are the population responsible for the regeneration of democracy. The second theme which is found in the 11th section of the book is about optimism to the world around us – that in order to become part of it, we must let ourselves be fully in it by exploring our senses. Lastly, the third theme mentioned yawp – a sympathetic experience to new horizons. According to Whitman, the speech was used to trigger this yawp and conflict.
The poem employs humor, erotic feelings, and fantasy as narrated in the “twenty-ninth bather” where a woman fantasized about joining the twenty-eight young men bathing in the ocean. As the different sections employ different stories, the focus of the story is merely on the theme itself. At first, one could say that the story is somewhat disorganized but it is Whitman’s style that disorganization becomes a key in understanding the whole story’s nature and purpose.
Whitman, W. (2001). Song of Myself. NY: Dover Publications, Inc.