Walt Whitman's Influence On Society

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The literature of America has undergone radical change since it’s beginnings with the puritan tradition. This rapid development has essentially been driven by a “desire” for a new literary “expression of American identity” and “artistic independence” from Europe, which was the center of world power and culture in the nineteenth century . In 1837, Emerson demanded that an end be put to America’s dependence on and “long apprenticeship to the learning of other lands” and encouraged his contemporaries to think with their own minds . In order to truly understand the spirit of a nation, one must look to its artists writers and philosopher, especially those of reputation and influence within the nation itself . The works of Walt Whitman and Louisa May Alcott were heavily influenced by the changing atmosphere of the nineteenth century with its new emphasis on self and society . While Whitman captured the very spirit of America in poetic form, Alcott “stands as one of the great American practitioners of the girls novel and the family story” .…show more content…
Whitman was born on the eve of a new era: one of industrialization and the rise of the great American city . The United States was a nation filled with new ideas and it was in these cities, the centers of the new civilization, that these ideas were spread, discussed and developed . Whitman was a keen observer of this urban life that teemed around him and his interest in the development and the future of his country finds expression in much of his poetic work. Though some viewed the felling of the Californian Redwood Tree a “sacrilegious act” , Whitman provides the reader with an alternative perspective in his poem “Song of the Redwood-Tree”. Rather than criticizing the destruction of such a natural wonder, Whitman voices his admiration for the determination of the workers and the technological developments of American society at the time. Thus Whitman encourages pride in the achievements of the
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