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Song of Myself

Song of Myself

by Walt Whitman

Lists (Catalogues)!

Symbol Analysis

Lists that go on and on are one of Whitman's specialties. They define his poetic style. In this poem, he tries to contain the entire world within "Myself," the all mighty "I." This requires naming a whole lot of stuff that to which he belongs and with which he identifies. The technical term for these lists in poetry-speak is "catalogue." These lists often include many lines in a row that begin with the same word or phrase, which is called "anaphora."

  • Section 2: The first list in the poem is a list of things his loves and wants to be in contact with.
  • Section 8: This section contains a list of different events that add up to a vision of the chaos and excitement of the world. It includes big contrasts, like between birth and suicide.
  • Section 15: This section provides a list of jobs, roles, and "vocations," everything from musician to prostitute.
  • Section 26: The speaker gives a list of things he hears.
  • Section 33: In this "traveling" section, he gives a list of all different places that he visits, people he visits, and people he identifies with. The repetition of the word "where" is an example of anaphora.
  • Section 43: He gives a list in this section to show that he identifies with every religion he can think of, from Christianity to shamanism to atheism.

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