Whitman And Transidentlism

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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English Whitman and independence Throughout Walt Whitman's poems ideas of transcendentalism flourish. One that stands out in particular is the goal of being able to live independently. Part of being able to live independently is experiencing things on one's own and not having to believe what others say because one can't find out for oneself. In his poem The Astronomer this theme is very prominent. In the poem Whitman speaks of when he was listening to a vapid lecture about astronomy. Instead of sitting there he decided he would go out and gather his own data and form his own opinion. This idea of independence is also shown in the poem A Noiseless Patient Spider. In this poem Whitman talks about a spider he met. This spider required no outside assistance from anything or anyone. The spider makes his home from materials he has. His food supply is caught with a trap he created.

This spider is completely self-sufficient. Walt Whitman is telling us that we should strive to be more like the spider. Another poem where his beliefs about independence are evident is Song of Myself. In this poem Whitman claims, (speaking about animals) "I can eat and sleep with them week in and week out" He is saying that he needs no human help and that he could survive just with the animals and be fine. In short, Walt Whitman valued ideas of self-reliance.