Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Song For Occupaations.

*this is a little bit late cos i deleted my first go by accident.

Song For Occupations continues in the same kind of linguistic choreography as the poem which precedes it. The narrator seems ordained with the same lyrical omniscience, engaging the reader with rhetoric which seems transcendant and insightful.
The poem is a call for the essentially American notion of egalitarianism, to be inherited and embraced by Walt's audience. He measures the great man alongside the common man, demanding that there be a unity of worthy between them. He writes:

Because you are greasy or pimpled—or that you was once drunk, or a thief, or
         diseased, or rheumatic, or a prostitute—or are so now—or from frivolity or
         impotence—or that you are no scholar, and never saw your name in print . . . .
         do you give in that you are any less immortal? 

This stanza uses the concept of mortality to illustrate the existential worth of every man. It serves to undermine the barriers that alienate people from one another; that a person's worth can be measured by achievement, or fame, or looks. Death unites us all regardless of status- nature connects the most noble with the most ignoble. Whitman's message therefore is to view the world on your own terms, to not compromise your existence by fear or jealousy, rather to live in the moment. My favourite section of the poem reads:

The earth is not an echo . . . . man and his life and all the things of his life are well-

You are not thrown to the winds . . you gather certainly and safely around yourself,
Yourself! Yourself! Yourself forever and ever! 

There is a militant call for existential enlightenment in the poem, and this section expresses it wonderfully. The direct use of the word 'you' is especially engaging for the reader, and the frantic anaphora directly governs one's attention. The section demands the abandonment of all things that cast us into subordination, 'the earth is not an echo' an especially engaging phrase to emphasise the philosophy of posative freedom enshrined in the text. Whitman really surpasses himself in this poem through his fervant language, and what appears to be a genuine affection for his readership. It is an inspiring discourse on the meaning of life, and how we measure our achievements and successes in relation to others. I had a very good time reading it.

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