Study Guide

Song of Myself Section 38

By Walt Whitman

Section 38

  • He's tired of moping around and being in the dumps. Too many thoughts about amputation and imprisonment threaten to rob him of his optimism.
  • He has been stunned, but now he snaps out of it and regains his bold, aggressive posture, telling us to "stand back!"
  • He has almost committed some "usual mistake," which seems to have something to do with complaining and dwelling on his own problems.
  • He almost forgot about everyone else's problems, the people who are mocked and crucified beside him. He can't treat his own sufferings any differently.
  • He compares himself to Jesus Christ rising from his tomb after crucifixion.
  • And we're back in business. The old, confident Walt is back, and he continues his journey through the United States, this time on foot.
  • He salutes the students ("eleves") of the world, but says he is both in front of and behind them. (The word, élève is French for "student.")