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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #4

Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe? (12)

Here, the speaker casts doubt on his earlier thoughts about the "lost America of love." We are left with an image of Whitman standing alone on the bank of Lethe, the river of forgetting. It seems like the speaker acknowledges that Whitman's America wasn't perfect, either. In America, both men are outsiders due to their sexual identities.

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