Study Guide

Song of Myself Tough-o-Meter

By Walt Whitman


(5) Tree Line

Walt Whitman is an accessible poet. Everyone can, and should, read Whitman. There's something about his poetic tone that is so reassuring that it's hard to be intimidated by him. Plus, he never judges people, and he thinks book learning is overrated. What could possibly scare off the reader? OK, so "Song of Myself" is long, and might be intimidating from that standpoint. Otherwise, it's tempting to think that Whitman is a "simple" poet because he's so darned direct. But there's plenty of complexity to sink your teeth into here. For starters, who is this "I" who narrates the poem, and how does he relate to those other dudes, "Me" and "My Soul"?