More jobs. All kinds of jobs. Part of this poem is like reading the employment section of the newspaper. We think Whitman would make an excellent career counselor.
He describes people according to their vocation, their particular role in society.
Among the jobs he lists are the "contralto" who sings at church, the "jour printer" at a daily newspaper, a slave called a "quadroon," and a "lunatic." It's as if being a "lunatic" was just as respectable as any other job. Like we said, Whitman doesn't judge.
Although he clearly has a very optimistic attitude, Whitman is not naïve. He is willing to admit that when someone has a limb amputated, the limb "drops horribly in a pail."
He takes the bad with the good and doesn't shy away from gritty details.
Whitman spends some time giving beautiful, memorable explanations of the different roles people play. Everyone fits into the community somehow; no one is out of place or doesn't belong. He doesn't elevate one kind of lifestyle over another.
Even the President of the United States doesn't get special mention; he's just another name of the list.
At one point, interestingly, Whitman does go out of his way to judge. In parentheses, he exclaims that it is "miserable" for people to make fun of a sloppy-looking prostitute. In other words, he only judges the judgers.
He includes Native Americans in his list, as well.
The majority of lines begin with the word "the," as in "The pavingingman . . . the conductor . . . the pedlar . . . etc."
He claims to be like all of these people, and they are all like him. Everyone is a part of the same fabric of society.