Study Guide

Song of Myself Section 34

By Walt Whitman

Section 34

  • Whitman indignantly tells a story about a battle in the Mexican-American war where 412 Americans were murdered.
  • He points out that he's not going to tell about the other famous story from that war, the battle of the Alamo, because the soldiers from the Alamo haven't had their story told yet.
  • Like the narrative of the 28 bathers, this section is a vignette, or a short sketch of a story.
  • The American soldiers were outnumbered and negotiated a fair treaty. They were young, brave men.
  • Their enemies didn't honor the treaty and instead massacred them in the early morning. Their bodies were burned, and the smoke turned the sunrise "jetblack."
  • Whitman's tone throughout this section is outraged. He's describing a war crime.