Death 2 Essay, Research Paper
There are many “popular” topics used frequently by authors. Love, religion, and war are some favorites. Two other such topics we typically read about are nature and death. The two can be discussed separately or they can be related to each other. Walt Whitman, a lover of nature, tackled these subjects in “Song of Myself” from Leaves of Grass. Another author who does the same is William Cullen Bryant. Though two very different writers with different styles,
they share some of the same ideas. “Song of Myself” is a celebration of life and God. Whitman loved everything imaginable about nature. He loved people, animals, and himself. Throughout this extensive poem, Whitman mentions “red” people (Indians), “negros,” butchers, women, the poor and the rich. He believed
that all are good in some way or another and all people are equal. He loved them all for their own special reason. He also loved animals. Stanza thirteen praises the beauty and worthiness of oxen, tortoises, and mockingbirds. He believed all living things were connected. People are linked with the mares, cats, prairie dogs, and other creatures. Humans are even linked to the grass in the ground (Reef 50). That line sums it up. People are a part of nature. There is a birth, death, and renewal cycle that connects the two.
Stanza six is a simple, believable explanation of death. It starts out in a conversation with a child asking what grass is. The line of answer is “the beautiful uncut hair of graves” (Whitman 2747). When we die, we are buried in the ground. We are returned, in a sense, from whence we came. God did form Adam, the first man, from the earth. William Cullen Bryant says in “Thanatopsis,” “earth that nourishes thee, shall claim thy growth, to be resolved to earth again”
(Bryant 2673). The earth has now become our home, our resting-place, our lap, “and here you are the mothers’ lap” (Whitman 2747). The life/death cycle will continue. The bodies returning to the leaves of grass will now nourish the vegetation. New life will sprout from the earth. In a sense, death does not fully exist. The growth of the grass proves that death does not end a life (Reef 50). Whitman asks and answers what happened to the women, men, and children. “They are alive and well somewhere; the smallest sprout shows there really is no death” (Whitman 2747). “All goes onward and outward+.and nothing collapses” (Whitman 2748). This serves to justify Whitman s belief that people and nature are connected forever.
A third subject can also be connected to nature, people, and death. God is the creator of all things human, animal, and vegetable. He is always with us and guides us through life. Whitman also believed in God s caring and speaks of Him in stanza three; “As God comes a loving bedfellow and sleeps at my side all night and close on the peep of day “(Whitman 2745). William Cullen Bryant also has thoughts similar to Whitman s. In Bryant s “To a Waterfowl,” he says, “He
who, from zone to zone, guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, in the long way that I must tread alone, will lead my steps aright” (Bryant 2676). God is the giver of life and the taker but allows us to continue through the leaves of grass.