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Song of Myself

Song of Myself

by Walt Whitman

Section 46 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

  • Whitman isn't worried about what else is in the universe – he has the best part. He can't be measured.
  • His journey goes on forever, and all he needs is a good raincoat and pair of shoes.
  • He doesn't want to be anyone's teacher or professor, he just wants to show you the world. At the same time, all he can do is point out the road – you have to walk down it.
  • (Wait, that sounds just like the quote from the film The Matrix: "All I can do is show you the door. You have to walk through it.")
  • If you get tired, he'll support you.
  • Even if he sees the entire world and known universe, he'd still want to travel beyond further and see more things.
  • He repeats the non-conformist creed: "you must find out for yourself."
  • It's as if he's going to give you biscuits and milk, give you a kiss goodbye, and then kick you to the curb to go discover the world on your own.
  • He compares you to a person learning to swim by "holding a plank by the shore." You've got to just jump into the middle of the ocean and start swimming.
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