Thursday, January 25, 2007

SAMPLE ESSAY #1

Eroticism in the Poetry of Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman's poems often alude or directly state sexuality. While he tries hard to write about women and men the same, he treats homosexual eroticism and heterosexual eroticism differently.

In the poem "I Sing the Body Electric," Whitman has equal stanzas for both men and women. But they are all very different. When Whitman describes women he seems to be very detached and speaks from a more general veiw. In each section about women he mostly writes stuff about them that has to do with things like motherhood. But not sexually. As Whitman is describing the two sexes in their daily lives, the woman was a mothering cow. In stanzas about the auction of slaves, he describes the woman as "the bearer of them that shall grow and be mates and mothers." Every time Whitman describes women, he goes back to this maternal image of them. Even when Whitman has a few short lines about the female sexuality, he immediately has a line of "She is to conceive daughters as well as sons.

Whitman's writing style is also different when he writes the female sections. His words seem to be more natural and flowy like a woman is just a part of nature. He uses phrases like "folds of their dress" and "bend of legs, negligent flowing hands..."

Even though Witman gives male and female equal time in the poem, you can tell he is clearly drawn to the man. He was compairing a woman in flowing dress on the street to naked swimmers and wrestlers. The way he describes man is so much more passionate and erotic. He always seems to talk of women from a detached voice but seems to actually be watching men, or physically touching them. He describes an old farmer then says "you wish to sit by him in the boat, that you and him might touch each other." Whitman is never physically with any woman he decribes.

Try as he might, Whitman is clearly prone to homoeroticism. You simply can't compare birthing mothers to naked swimmers and say Whitman is not homoerotic. Even though he acknowledges women's sexuality, he simply does not find them erotic.

52 comments:

Zachary Pearman said...

Fragmented sentences in some areas, starting some sentences with "but". There are also many instances in which the term "you" is repeatedly used. Good word choice some of the time.

Richard T. Deyhle Jr. said...

The idea this person was trying to get across is clear. Their sentence fluency could use quite a bit of improving, but it is understandable. Fragmented sentences needed to be changed, but it was a good effort. :)

Jackie McConnell said...

Considering I've never read anything of Whitman's, this essay gives a pretty heavy impression of his work as a whole. It'd be nice if there were some sort of reference to another poem of Whitman's, to either solidify this opinion of his work, or show that this only happened in this one poem, "I Sing the Body Electric."

maci mcdougall said...

This person brought up good subjects, but didn't go into depth in certain areas which would have made the essay more appealing. This essay was not boring to read but why do you think whitman feels this way and has such different views on men and women?

Braidy Bates said...

In this essay the writer states that Whitman talks about women and men differently. He talks about how Whitman see's women but the writer lacks examples of how Whitman see's men. In the last paragraph it said that Whitman is clearly prone to homoeroticism, I would never of guessed this with the information given to me and the only reason I know this is because the writer said so.

Anne Harrington said...

Dispite this essays minor errors I find that I understand the essay very well. If the writer goes and fixes his errors then I belive that it would be a better written essay. The writer also could use more examples in the essay explaining why Emerson is drawn to men, the writer refers to it but dosn't give much evidence. The writer also jumps around in topics a little and needs to work on paragraphing.

Austin Larson said...

Walt Whitman has such a huge amount of writing work out there that is is hard to pick out one piece of his work and call him homoerotic because he talks about men and women in a different way. He does not directly talk about men in a sexual way, nor does he women in this particlar poem. For making this assumtption you should have much more evidence to back your idea up.

Trevor Rexius said...

More examples of being with physically with men would be nice, there should also be more examples of being more passionate towards men. Is there really anything suggesting that it is Whitman with the men? The exapmle is "you wish to sit by him in the boat, that you and him might touch each other." but it says "you" not "I" Whitman is probably assuming that it will be a woman reading his poetry.

Anonymous said...

Whitman views and talks about men more erotically than women. He is homoerotic. Women are just as important as men. Whatever floats your boat.

Kari Peterman said...

This essay has good points, but is it based purely around the fact that Walt Whitman was homosexual? Part of a woman's sexuality is that she is able to reproduce, and comparatively, the description of a human male isn't going to include anything about childbearing. Also, substance aside, there are many unclear sentences, as well as grammatical errors. I feel the writer should have mastered the art of using commas.

Malia White said...

The writer trys to prove that in the essay Whitman is always referring to being with men and touching men, but actually never supports this theory.

Whitman refers to a old farmer in a boat but instead of placing himself in the scene by using "I" he places the reader in the scene by using "You".

There is no direct indication of Whitman being homoerotic.

Zachary Pearman said...

How wold you know, Austin?

Anne Harrington said...

Richard Deyhle: I would have to agree with what you think. The writer knows what they want to type they just need to work on how they are putting it in order. I belive that once the writer fixes the errors it would be a very good essay.

Austin larson said...

trevor you are just wrong that is all i have to say

Morgan Davie said...

The one about floating your own boat is from me.

maci mcdougall said...

Jackie, you made a good point. If there had been a reference or two to another of whitmans poems we might of gotten a better idea of his thinking about men and women.

Zachary Pearman said...

I concur!

Cassy Jenness said...

Walt Whitman's poem defines him as not homoerotic, but in his poem he is more erotic about men than women. In his peom he talks about fishing with a farmer and touching him, but never talks intimately about women, probably making him very erotic about men.

Zachary Pearman said...

Austin, you're the wrongest.

Melissa Ferguson said...

I wish that the writer would have went into more detail on the meaning of the first stanza.The essay would have sounded alot more professional if they would leave out the general words like "stuff". This person talks alot about women but not alot about what Whitman thinks of men, I would like to hear a little more about all sides of Whitman's perspective.

Trevor Rexius said...

Zachary Pearman, you should say something about the content of the essay not just the word choice and fragmented sentences.

Zachary Pearman said...

I agree with Richard. He knows all.

Zachary Pearman said...

Trevor, you should say something about shutting up because you'd be good at it.

ZING!!!

Kari Peterman said...

Jackie, you make a good point. I agree with you, I feel the writer didn't really back up what they were saying, and their "point" was confusing in itself.

Malia White said...

Kari I agree that a part of a womans sexuality is her ability to reproduce and obviously Whitman can't say the same about men due to the fact its impossible. The way he describes woman is very sexual, more so then when he describes men. Job well done!

Braidy Bates said...

Hey Richie D. I do agree that the writer got his or her points across, but not very clearly. I still don't know why he feels Whitman is clearly homoeroticism. This person only talked about how Whitman addresses women, not men.

Cassy Jenness said...

Trevor, when you said Whitman was probably talking to women...You don't know....He could be talking to men too....

Richie Deyhle said...

I cannot believe this rubish i read from the other blog commenters. You do not give the writer a chance at their way to speak their thoughts. Some people just do not know a strong sentence structure, what the word "but" means, and when to use it, along with having confidence in their words. Just remeber sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. So correct them all you want, because they will still write bogus stuff. ;)

Richie Deyhle said...

I cannot believe this rubish i read from the other blog commenters. You do not give the writer a chance at their way to speak their thoughts. Some people just do not know a strong sentence structure, what the word "but" means, and when to use it, along with having confidence in their words. Just remeber sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. So correct them all you want, because they will still write bogus stuff. ;)

Megan Hooley said...

In Whitmans poems, he seems to be more erotically inclined to men than women. He is more detached when he is talking about women and when he talks about men he gets erotic. He never describes a physical connection with women, where as men he at one point said, "you wish to sit by him in the boat, that you and him might touch each other."

Zachary Pearman said...

I think the concept of their essay was confusing. I couldn't tell what they were trying to point out about this guy's essays.

Morgan Davie said...

Malia. i agree with you totally and completely also i miss you all the way over in the corner. Also i love you. and i hope we dont get squashed by an elephant..knock on wood!

Blake Tendick said...

It seems that Whitman has more of an attachment to the male gender than the female. You could have gone into more detail when talking about the male versus female controversy. Also,you could describe the writing style more efficiently. Over all this was a pretty good essay.

jessica jampolsky said...

Overall I think this is a very nice essay! it is obvious that a lot of effort was put into it, and the presence of quotes was very helpful. However, some of the quotes where not quite appropriate for what the author of this essay was trying to say, and I also felt that the first sentence of this essay could have been a bit more expressive. The author was clear about what they wished to say, but sometimes seemed to be unable to follow through with his/her ideas in a smooth and fluent manner. This said, I believe that the essay is clear and uses intelligent wording and admirable strength of argument.
good job!

Zachary Pearman said...

Yeh.

Richard Tiberius Deyhle Jr. said...

Mr. Lawless should get in on some of this action.

Jackie McConnell said...

Melissa, I completely agree that parts of the essay need to be gone into detail with. "Stuff" just doesn't work!

Rashelle Davie said...

In this essay the speaker misspells key words and uses fragmented sentences. The speaker goes into better detail when talking about Whitman's views on men. The speaker says Whitman calls women cows and says they are there for reproduction reasons, while men are naked wrestlers and swimmers.

maci mcdougall said...

haha..morgan i loved the comment.

bailey r ritchie said...

the introduction does not have a correct thesis. It does not talk about all the things he applies directly and it talks about swimmers and wrestlers. He jumps into quotes that do not make sence about the sentance prior to his screwy sentances. The writer is also taking Whitman's writtings too far. What i mean by that is that Whitman talks of a farmer and writes, You wish to sit by him in the boat, that you and him might touch eachother." I think this guy juss picked this quote cuz he likes it. If u think about what he wrote before the quote than u can tell he obviously doesnt know what Whitman was talking about in the qoute. Also in the conclusion of the essay the writter starts to talk about homoeroticism. Which to my knowlege that word does not show up anywhere else other than the last paragraph of the essay.

Zachary Pearman said...

Yeah, it's hard to really get one's point across when they can't spell their ideas correctly.

Megan Hooley said...

mmm good point trevor. He could have been assuming that it would be women reading this poem istead of men. Yeh.

Trevor Rexius said...

Jessica, i disagree with you i dont think they put as much effort into this essay as they should have, if they put 100% effort into it then they probably would have thoroughly proved their piont.

Malia White said...

Thanks Morgan... I would have to agree with you too.. even though i have not read your comment about whitman! Im sure I'd agree.
Also- I miss you too! Way over in the back!

Hi Megan!

Melissa Ferguson said...

-Austin
I don't see where you got the idea that Whitman never talked about women in a sexual way if you have never read about Whitman.

Anne Harrington said...

Melissa, You bring up a good point. The writter does just stick with explaining Emerson's view of women, I think the writer whould go and explain more on Emerson's view of men. The writer mentions it a little but I belive they could have done better.

Richard Tiberius Deyhle Jr. said...

Amazingly enough, I feel I can express myself freely on this blogspot. Thanks to my fellow classmates you know who you are! you make this work and I want to commend you on your outmost ability to make this class work beautifully and smoothly.

Blake Tendick said...

Cassey Jenness, Pretty good but it was a little confusing. The sentence fluency was a little wierd.

Cassy Jenness said...

Richie, Mr. Lawless can take my place, I'm done with typing....He's married so he probably needs some kind of life now....

Jessi Sheava said...

This essay lacks supporting details. The main points are a little diluted because they skip so much from one point to another. The writer should use less quotes from Whitman and more direct details. It was a very stylish essay.

Malia White said...

Jackie- I feel the need for a reference to another one of Whitman's essays, because I also have not read alot of his work. It would just be useful to have samples or more support to help with the writers point.

7th Period said...

Hey 2nd Period!