Emily's Reviews > Song of Myself

Song of Myself by Walt Whitman
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's review
Feb 22, 2011

liked it

I actually read Leaves of Grass as sort of a companion to John Green's Paper Towns. Those that have read it will know that the poem "Song of Myself" plays a big part in the storyline, so I thought it might be a good idea to read the poem in question to gain a better understanding of the book. I guess, if anything, Paper Towns sort of gave me a false pretense as to what the subject matter of the poem actually was. What I was expecting was an insightful poem about interconnectedness and how people are like grass- what I got was a slightly slow, hard-to-read, and occasionally self-centered piece that left me feeling slightly disappointed. The portions of "Song of Myself" that are included in Paper Towns actually ended up being the only parts of the poem that I liked. I guess I was just a little thrown off when Whitman would say things about how he, as a person, was the greatest, most wonderful entity in the history of the world. I understand that the human body and soul is a beautiful, intricate, and infinite thing, but I think that even in poetry it's almost silly to believe that there isn't something better and more wonderful any beautiful than ourselves out there.
However, I didn't hate the poem. There's no denying that Whitman had a way with words and some beautiful stanzas, particularly the bits about the child asking what the grass was and the last part about looking for him under your bootsoles. Maybe I'm just emotionally attached to those parts because I'm emotionally attached to Paper Towns, but I'm glad I read the whole poem anyway.

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