Walt Whitman used natural elements to represent the cycle of life, which encouraged his readers to see beauty in connecting the mechanics of death and rebirth. In his poetry, Whitman’s idea that death is not an end, but a beginning, opens up the possibility of finding joy in completing the inevitable life-death-rebirth cycle. His illustration of natural elements beautifies death and shifts the readers’ perspective to contemplate that without death, nothing can ever be reborn.
Through Whitman’s use of natural elements, readers easily connect, that in nature, all things live, and all things die. The natural element of water he references in Crossing Brooklyn Ferry uses metaphors to identify the beauty hidden in death. The current rushing so swiftly and swimming with me far away,The others that are to follow me, the ties between me and them, (1915) Whitman uses the imagery of water which he finds quick and without delay carrying him into the afterlife. Swimming along with death references our choice to be one with the inevitable process. Whitman is ok with what is to come, and death is not something to fight but rather to go along with. The others that are to follow me, the ties between me and them means that everyone is connected by the absolute truth that death will happen to all. It is one of the things in life that every person cannot avoid.
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His desire to swim along swiftly by accepting death is a beautiful way to envision dying as a free choice of the mind, a symbol of Emersonian self-reliance. In Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, Whitman continues to glorify the natural process of life by insinuating that things which decay become a part of something greater. The simple, compact, well-joined scheme”myself disintegrated, every one disintegrated, yet part of the scheme, The similitudes of the past, and those of the future (1915) In this passage he connects how all things are connected together in life by a scheme a unity of interconnectedness which represents a greater whole. He moralizes his “disintegration” (death), as a natural part of a larger order. By using the word similitude, Whitman indicates that all things consist of another in the past and the present, both in life and in death. Almost all beings use the natural elements of their five senses as a way to universally educate themselves and as a tool for survival. The certainty of others”the life, love, sight, hearing of others. (1915) Whitman evidences what we know for certain, that life, love, sight, and hearing come naturally to us.
Those four experiences connect us all with the innate ability to gain understanding of others and our environment.
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