Study Guide

Song of Myself Section 22

By Walt Whitman

Section 22

  • Whitman describes the sea. Uh-oh. Is he going to have "relations" with the sea now?
  • Yes. Yes he is.
  • The sea invites him to take a "turn," and the ambiguity of this phrase is striking.
  • The line, "Dash me with amorous wet . . . I can repay you" is especially sexually suggestive.
  • (We're being a bit juvenile with these erotic bits. It would be more, ahem, mature of us to say that Whitman is using sexuality as a metaphor for his mystical union with nature.)
  • He goes on to say that he is the poet who is sympathetic to everything. He sings about evil as well as good. He thinks that evil should be corrected, but he still isn't going to judge.
  • He doesn't know why anyone would be evil. He finds meanness and faithlessness (in a general, non-religious sense) incomprehensible.