Leaves of Grass Study Guide

Leaves of Grass Study Guide

Original title:
Leaves of Grass

Leaves of Grass is a poetry book of Walt Whitman that is considered the golden classic of modern poetry. It is the most important work of all the life of the author. Whitman revised it for all his life, adding, replacing and switching different poems, until their quantity exceeded four hundred.

Whitman is considered the father of the truly American spirit. While most of the poetry at his time praised spiritual values and moderation, diminishing the meaning of body and mind, Whitman exalts human body and material pleasures, giving them the meaning and symbolism of something transcendent. It was highly criticized for the explicit sexual imagery and self-obsession, but Whitman didn’t mean it to be a narcissistic pray to himself. Leaves of Grass shows how a person can love themselves, find themselves worthy of their love, do anything to achieve perfection in what they want and enjoy life to its fullest.

Each poem can be read as a single piece, they are very vaguely related. But still the author divides them by the topics, creating chapters of his book, each of which describes some aspects of life. We can even track the changes in his own worldview, reading the poems chronologically and seeing how Whitman’s upbeat, jovial and materialistic ideas gradually turn into more melancholic and spiritual ones while he meditates on the question of death, dying and heritage that a person leaves behind themselves.

At first, the poems were heavily criticized, because the prudish morals of that age considered them outright scandalous. But later they became the real spirit of America, the spirit of the man who loves himself and the world, is ready to accept whatever life gives him and enjoy it. Nowadays the Leaves of Grass is one of the most popular books of all American poetry. It’s eloquent tongue, vivid imagery and generally optimistic ideas make this book a beautiful reading for anyone who loves life.

New Essays

Langston Hughes - Many Influences In His Life

Langston Hughes had many influences in his life that is reflected in his work. Every author has a "muse" for hisher writings because heshe is inspired differently by a number of things. Influence and inspiration are relatively the same, they both affect a person. How that person is affected is the...

Analysis of New York School Poets

Close analysis of the poems written by Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch, has lead me to believe that they bring a fresh sense of life in the poetry they write with the help of many factors ranging from the way they structure their poems, which is in the free form. To contextual and...

Leaves of Grass Quotes with Page Number

“This is no book; Who touches this,touches a man;(Is it night?Are we here alone?)It is I you hold,and who holds you;I spring from thepages into your arms...” — Page 217— “Over the mountain growths, disease and sorrow, An uncaught bird is ever hovering, hovering,High in the purer, happier air.” — —...

Leaves Of Grass Poem

In what ways did African Americans shape the course and consequences of the Civil War? During the period from 1861-1870, the Civil War occurred due to the split between the North and South. That split was caused by the differences in ideals and practices within the country. Both sides wanted to...

See all essays