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    Walt Whitman asks himself and the reader of the poem, “CrossingBrooklyn Ferry,” what significance a person’s life holds in thescope of densely populated planet. The poem explores thedifficulties of discovering the relevance of life. The methodsthat helped Whitman grasp his own idea of the importance of lifeare defined with some simple yet insightful and convincingobservations. By living under and for the standards of others,a person can never live a fulfilling life. Distinguishingoneself from the mobs of society can be next to impossible whenevery other human is competing for the same recognition withtheir own similar accomplishments.

    The suggestion that Whitmanoffers as a means of becoming distinguished, or obtaining anidentity, is to live a life of self-satisfaction. Thepersuasive devices in “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” successfullycommunicate Whitman’s own theory of breaking the molds ofsociety by living as a self-satisfying individual. What makes one person’s life different from the next? Whitmanleaves the apprehension that the distinguishing characteristicsare few. Whitman informs the audience that he has lead the samelife as they, who lead the same life as their children will andtheir ancestors did.

    The poet questions the significance of aperson’s achievements by asking, “My great thoughts as Isupposed them, were they not in reality meagre sic?” It wouldbe hard for any person to measure their self-accomplishments onthe planetary scale which Whitman is speaking of. The secondverse of the poem introduces the metaphor of the world being a”simple, compact, well-joined scheme” with the people dissolvedinto the “eternal float of solution. ” Like themechanical”scheme” that Whitman refers to, much of the poemconsists of topics that possess a repetitive or mechanicalquality. Sunrises, sunsets, tides, seasons, circling birds, thedaily New York commute on the Brooklyn Ferry, and the cycling ofgenerations are woven into the poem.

    A substantial amount ofstanzas in the poem all begin with the same word. Thecontinuous use of repetitive imagery conveys the feeling thatour existence is in fact part of an infinitely moving machinethat has no purpose or destination. By using these devices,Whitman shakes his audience with the convincing notion that lifeas it is normally perceived is not important. To assist thesedevices, lines that bring sudden tension into the poem furtherdisturb the preconceptions of the audience: “Closer yet Iapproach you,/What thought you have of me now.

    . . ” Whitman nowhas the readers of his poem in a vulnerable state – where theirminds can be easily swayed and he can preach his theory. Towards the middle of the poem, Whitman enters a passage thatspeaks of the “dark patches” that fall upon all people. Theevil traits of guile, anger, lust, greed, cowardice, and hatethat he, like all people, possess. These evils cause him tolive a solitary existence where he did not interact with eventhe things that he loved.

    Saw many I loved in the street or ferry-boat or public assembly,yet never I told them a word,Lived the same life as the rest, the same old laughing, gnawing,sleeping,Following his comments about the bad parts of his life, he goeson to tell about what he enjoyed in his life. The things thatgave him pleasure were in fact the sensory pleasures. What hesaw in the world, the voices and sounds of the people, theaccomplishments that he felt, and memories that he made were hisjustifications for living. Living his life to the fullest andcherishing the things that he did for himself gave him anidentity. There is a key difference between living a meaningless life anda leading a rewarding life with a purpose.

    In the first case,the goal in life is to work hard to be accepted by the standardsof others. As a result, a life will most likely wasted on workthat gives no meaning or reward to the person. In the secondcase, a person can live for their own standards and behave in away that is enjoyable to themselves. I too had receiv’d identity by my body, That I was I knew was of my body, and what I should be I knew Ishould be of my body. .

    . . About my body for me, and your body for you. .

    . The interiority as Whitman describes, guarantees that anindividual can find meaning in life without comparing themselvesagainst others and bringing out the evil and deceitful qualitiesof humans. In an ideal model of Whitman’s social behavior,everyone would be content and there would be no evil in theworld. The final two lines of the poem set his conclusionregarding the importance of interiority its results on theworld. You furnish your parts toward eternity,Great or small, you furnish your parts toward the soul.

    Whitman himself ignored the social standards of his day and bydoing what fulfilled his personal goals, he established his owneternal identity as one of the greatest American poets. “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” communicates Whitman’s ideas aboutlife in an discrete but highly effective manner. ————————————————————–

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