Walt Whitman’s A thousand Splendid suns

29 09 2012

The change of perspective in a poem depending on the connections it has with the author’s life


    At the first glance, the person behind “Give Me the Splendid Silent Sun” sounds like a boundless, greedy, exuberant young soul. The ‘youthfulness’, a motif accompanying the poem is created by the indecisive yet exited and expectant mood of the poem – 3 attributes characteristic to a young person, who has not yet been disappointed by life. The presumption that a youthful person wrote the piece turn out to be wrong, and as we can see for ourselves, the poem has been “written in 1865”, when Walt Whitman was 46 years of age. Apparently, the author was a very vernal 46 year old man.


     Another thing that might change one’s view of the poem is author’s belief in “America as the great democracy” and “the sense of equality and community among all the people”. Clearly, the writer was a patriot of his country, a detail that emphasizes even more the vivid description of both of America’s rural and urban lives, information that gives depth and reason for the observant way the details are handled and presented to the audience. America is depicted as a glorious, fair country, with a place for everyone. “Give Me the Splendid Silent Sun” is no longer a contrasted portrayal of nature versus city, but an aesthetical tribute to America.

      Whitman has been a witness to the impact the Civil War has had on the American society. Seeing his brother after was motivated him to assist medically the hospitalized Confederate and Union soldiers. Line 30 has been put in brackets, and for a reason: it’s a fresh breath of realism in the middle of the utopian context. The awareness of writer’s experience turns the line into a little back-to-reality drop of grief which slows down for a split moment the crescendo of ebullience that is being build up from the beginning of the poem.

       According to a prior research, Walt Whitman’s sexual orientation was either homosexual or bisexual, information that clashes with the lines 8 and 25, in which the poet talks about his desire for both short and long relationships with women, making the poem only half-autobiographical, only seen through the eyes of another person. This argument can be justified with the given information on Whitman which states that he “attempted to project himself into the identities of ordinary Americans from all walks of life and to incorporate their lives into his own”. Therefore, Walt Whitman was mostly a passionate observer of life and his poems can testify for that.