African Research Review

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Growth and Development of Individualism and Universalism in Selected Poems of Walt Whitman

J Devardhi


Whitman's poetry is a rich subject for psychoanalytic interpretation and this has always had a unique appeal to literary critics as well as research scholars. This study is a critical and psychoanalytical study on a few selected poems of Whitman. The poems have been selected from the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass that featured Whitman's
most famous poem Song of Myself which is the main poem used throughout. Other poems were selected as a support to identify Whitman's belief that every individual is born with a unique identity and the individual strives continuously to realize this individuality that
is hidden in the various challenges of life, both the darker and the lighter aspects of life. A critical analysis together with the psychoanalytical approach has been used to establish Whitman's profound interest in the exploration of the growth and development of
the ‘child or individual's' journey through chaotic conditions in the natural world. This study has thus, helped the author to comprehend the fact that this unquenchable desire for an individual's growth and development is not epiphanic, but is the final act of the emergence of the ‘child or individual' into a full-fledged ‘poet' after facing the various challenges of life.

Keywords: Intuitive wisdom; Individual or individualism;
Surrealism; Transcendentalism; Whitman/Whitmanite child.

African Research Review Vol. 2 (3) 2008: pp. 85-102
AJOL African Journals Online