First Advisor

Thomas Fisher

Date of Award

5-22-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English and University Honors

Department

English

Subjects

Walt Whitman (1819-1892). Leaves of grass -- Criticism and interpretation, Walt Whitman (1819-1892) -- Influence, Walt Whitman (1819-1892) --Political and social views

DOI

10.15760/honors.868

Abstract

Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass has long been celebrated as a great work of American democracy, a work of democratic poetics. Throughout the text, Whitman goes to great lengths to sympathize with as many different sects of American society as possible. But where do his sympathies deserve scrutiny? By analyzing Whitman’s relationship to the black, enslaved subject throughout the text, it becomes clear that there are limits to sympathy, and sympathetic intentions can inadvertently inflict violence upon subjugated groups. In turn, it becomes evident that Whitman’s democratic project is much more flawed and complicated than the way it is often presented in popular culture.

Rights

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Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/33057

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