American Literature Exam

The Poetry of Whitman and Dickinson


Directions: Double-spaced; two pages; typed; etc. Due on Monday, May 12.


Please answer one of the following:


  1. Comment on one of the following passages from Whitman’s Song of Myself:
    1. “ I celebrate myself, and sing myself,/And what I assume you shall assume,/For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” (Section 1)
    2. “Trippers and asked surround me…But they are not the Me myself.” (Section 4)
    3. “A child said What is the grass? Fetching it to me with full hands,/How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he.” (Section 6)
    4. “I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise,/Regardless of others, ever regardful of others, Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man…” (Section 16)
    5. “I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul…” (Section 21)
    6. “My faith is the greatest of faith and the least of faiths,/Enclosing worship ancient and modern and all between ancient and modern…” (Section 43)
    7. “All forces have been steadily employ’d to complete and delight me,/Now on this spot I stand with my robust soul.” (Section 44)
  2. Comment on one of the following passages from Dickinson:
    1. “This is my letter to the World/That never wrote to Me” (J. 441)
    2. “A Death blow is a Life blow to Some” (J. 816)
    3. All of J. 1017