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Infinitude And Emotional Recursion In Modernist Poetry

9 Pages 2330 Words

Oftentimes, authors use their writing as a means to express their ideas and theories on life. It can also be a means for them to define their existence or the world on a greater scale. Through reading many different modernist pieces, I have found an explanation of my own for existence or life. Upon reading these ideas in this paper, they may not seem to be so concrete as to define the ever present “why” that almost everyone in the world asks. Rather, it is a means to an end. The end may never be so easily defined and will certainly not be the same for every person.
In the book Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, readers are introduced to many ideas on life, the world, religion, America and other topics in the poem called Song of Myself. More specifically readers see Whitman’s views of himself as he relates to these topics. Whitman tries to show that he is more that just the sum of his parts or just what may be perceived as his physical person. He is everything the world around him is, and the world around him is everything he is. Section twenty-four of Song of Myself is a good example of this particular idea.
Whitman opens this section by writing “Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son,” (Whitman 41). This statement of size and being shows that Whitman perceives himself to be a grand conglomeration of many elements just as a cosmos is many galaxies and stars. To be a cosmos would mean to contain everything in the perceivable universe.

However, Whitman also states in the same line that he is a son of Manhattan, or a creation of the many elements within this city. Such a being would be made of the entirety of all the people in the city, including all of their emotions and perceptions, and still be part of the more encompassing universe. This idea that Whitman is made of all the world around him yet is still part of a smaller more finite world shows his idea of infinite existence and complementation. To be...

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