Song of Myself and Use of Sensory Details

In the first part of the poem, there is the line, “I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.” The line makes the reader of the poem vividly put the poet into perspective enjoying the calm that he is experiencing. In the first stanza, we can see himself celebrating and he takes the calmness he is experiencing to observe summer grass. In the second part of the poem, the second stanza, we find the line, “The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the distillation, it is odorless” which shows the paradox of the atmosphere and a house. The atmosphere is natural and this is what he likes. The fifth part has the poet explain say “Only the lull I like, the hum of your valvèd voice.” This indicates that he does not want refined sounds, but just the original voice of his partner. 

W.E.B Du Bois- The Souls of Black Folk

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Du Bois shows that the black people are disconnected from American/Western culture in a myriad of ways. First, he gives a critical look at the rise of educator, Booker T. Washington who took the position of the black’s spokesman. Washington, despite being a self-appointed spokesman, he accepted segregation and material progress which demeaned the blacks. Du Bois says that due to this, the blacks lost their votes and access to higher education. Second, through the examination of the black folk rural life, he finds that they are still cotton growers yet a few are enjoying economic success. They are perpetuating what the whites did. Third, Du Bois feels that religion was used as a means to legalize slavery yet blacks took it with both hands. Both cultures took religion differently. 

Putting Du Bois and Whitman in Conversation with Each Other

The second stanza of the third part of Whitman explains how inception was at an all-time high, and youth or age were expected to stagnate. Further, the stanza prophesies that there would be no more perfection than what was being experienced. Neither, hell nor heaven would increase. This stanza shows desperation and acceptance of status quo. Du Bois in this context, shows of determined black folk who work hard to beat the odds with the hopes of a better tomorrow. This is so in the last chapter where he gives the example of a young man who attains an education. He shows that it is not entirely as hopeless as our minds believe. 

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