Song of Myself
by Walt Whitman
Section 42 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
- Whitman's voice takes on a new, fuller tone. He's about to take things to a new level. He invites everyone around to listen.
- Maybe song here is meant to be an alternative to preaching.
- He repeats the word "Ever" to express that eternity exists in the present moment and in daily life. Life continues always in the same way, filled with good and bad things, and the way of the world is healthy and vibrant.
- He lashes out briefly at the elites who claim more than their fair share of the harvest and the general wealth.
- He is interested in the same things as everyone else, like stocks, politics, newspapers, and real estate. He's not a hermit.
- The rich people are like all the rest of us – no better or worse.
- He wants to use his song to point toward reality, not to explain it. We should think about the printers who made the book, and not just about the words inside it.
- Religion, he thinks, puts the focus on distant things at the expense of things that are close at hand. He finds plenty interesting and profound things to look at close at hand, especially when other people are involved.