Thursday, November 4, 2010

Whitman's Ode to the Working Class

"(Because you are greasy or pimpled, or were once drunk, or a thief, Or that you are diseas'd, or rheumatic, or a prostitute, Or from frivolity or impotence, or that you are no scholar and never saw your name in print, Do you give in that you are any less immortal?)"

While not done so intentionally, the piece "A Song for Occupations" by Walt Whitman can be seen in some respects as a counter-point to the cynicism and disdain for the Industrial Revolution, as felt by those like William Blake. Blake condemned the changes in society, whereas, Whitman embraced them to an extent, in his glorification of the role of the working man in this new world. Whitman was renown for the radical nature of his writings, in the subject matter involved and his view of the world. The poem was addressed to the laborers in the various fields of physical labor that had just been created, and stressed the importance of these people to the extent that he claims they are in fact just as important as the many elites of America, including the President himself. This also shows why Whitman is a Romantic writer, in his disregard for the conventions of Aristocracy and by extension his regard for the class systems.

No comments: