Walt Whitman's diverse and self-conscious writing style contains many poetic devices which distinguish him among the great American writers. One such device common to Whitman's poetry is the use of cataloguing. Through cataloguing, Whitman is able to enter into the text multiple ideas and situations, alluding to topics which are central to his work. Though these seemingly unrelated events all contain diverse themes, evoking various thoughts, it is through cataloguing that they successfully reveal the wisdom of the man and his impressions. In 'Song of Myself', Whitman's frequent use of the catalogue promotes strong meaning to the poem, effectively displaying to the reader Whitman's great insight into the consciousness of human thought, and ultimate realism which characterized his writings.
'Song of Myself' contains many passages which are easily relatable to the reader, creating a sense of familiarity which makes Whitman a truly realistic writer. This realism is what allowed the poem to acquire universal acceptance, as well as great praise.
Whitman takes the reader through his world, encountering life's events through the eyes of the poet, these encounters ultimately embodying as well as comprising his personal identity. However, the true excellence of Whitman's writings lies in the realization that through Whitman's effective use of the catalogue, the reader is able to explore and recognize his own identity as well. In section 15 of the poem, Whitman catalogues together many random thoughts, which evoke great imagery for the reader, The duck-shooter walks by silent and cautious stretches, The deacons are ordain'd with cross'd hands at the altar, The spinning-girl retreats and advances to the hum of the big wheel, The farmer stops by the bars as he walks on a first-day loafe and looks at the oats and rye, (269-272).
Upon first reading, taken literally, this passage seems...