Study Guide

Song of Myself Section 40

By Walt Whitman

Section 40

  • The old cocky Walt returns with a vengeance, as he tells the Sun and Earth that he has resources greater than theirs.
  • Everybody wants something from him, but he doesn't give money or wisdom. He only gives himself.
  • He gives and gives to everyone and helps people with their problems.
  • For manual laborers, he's a shoulder to lean on and a source of encouragement.
  • To dying people, he gives comfort and shuts out those pesky priests and doctors.
  • For women of children-bearing age, he's an able body to make them pregnant (uh, we're not sure how many will take him up on this offer…). (By the way, the word "jetting" is frequently Whitman's euphemism for ejaculation. We know you depend on us for this sort of important information.)
  • He carries people suffering from despair and depression.