"Leaves of grass" and a biography of Walt Whitman.

Essay by PegasysHigh School, 10th gradeA, October 2003

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Walt Whitman was a poet born right here in this very town, Huntington, New York. His house is now a museum that sits across the street from the Walt Whitman Mall. To honor Walt Whitman's greatness several of his poems from The Leaves of Grass have been engraved upon the walls of the mall. The life that Whitman led was a hard one, and his controversial poetry and ideas didn't help much either. Many people objected to his ideas and the themes of many of his poems because of his acceptance of homosexuality and candor about all things sexual.

Walt Whitman, the second out of nine children, was fathered by Walter Whitman on May 31, 1819. At the age of twelve he left school and started to learn the printer's trade. This caused him to fall in love with literature. He became very well read, becoming familiar with the works of Shakespeare, Dante, Homer, and the Bible.

Whitman worked as a printer until a raging fire devastated the printing district. At the age of 17 in 1836 he started a career as a school teacher in the one room school houses that dotted Long Island at the time. He taught until 1841, when he took up journalism full time and started the weekly paper The Long Islander, which is still published today. He went on to become editor of the Brooklyn paper The Daily Eagle. In 1884 he left The Daily Eagle to become editor of the New Orleans Crescent. It was there in New Orleans that he witnessed first hand the horrors of slavery. (Walt Whitman- The American Poet.) After witnessing those horrors he returned to Brooklyn to publish a "free soil" (a paper that favored the abolition of slavery) paper The Brooklyn Freeman. Whitman continued to develop his...