| Quote #1
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,
The speaker always plays nice and shares his toys…and atomic particles. Friendship in this poem develops in two directions. On the one hand, he wants to be friends with "you," who is both the reader and everyone he has met in his journeys. On the other hand, he wants to be friends with the different parts of himself. He invites his soul out for a grass-watching party.
| Quote #2
I am not an earth nor an adjunct of an earth,
Every kind for itself and its own . . . . for me mine male and female,
Who need be afraid of the merge?
The speaker's efforts to befriend people are complicated by his desire to play the mentor. He thinks that he has important knowledge to impart about death, eternity, self-reliance, and other topics. At the same time, he wants to be a "companion" on an equal level with others. Can he have it both ways? What do you think?
| Quote #3
This is the meal pleasantly set . . . . this is the meat and drink for natural hunger,
This is the press of a bashful hand . . . . this is the float and odor of hair,
If you were to show up to one of the speaker's dinner parties, you'd better be prepared to run into a colorful cast of characters. His policy is to never, ever exclude anyone for any reason. All people are equally worthy of love and attention, and so no one is turned away from his door. He expresses his affections through the sense of touch. In Whitman's day, people did not worry as much about what a hug or kiss implied.