American Literature 1865-1914
Prof. Rosa Soto
November 27, 2012
Walt Whitman and His Strange Obsession With God
Walt Whitman was an egotistical, self-absorbed, wild heretic. “I celebrate myself, and sing myself” (Songs of Myself 1). Multiple times in his books and essays he claims to be better than the masses. “I am as bad as the worst, but, thank God, I am as good as the best” (Preface to a Leaves of Grass). Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune (Songs of the Open Road). Walt Whitman is often thought of as an atheist, but I’m not buying it. In my opinion Whitman deep down believed that there was a God, and not only did he believe that there was a God, he believed himself …show more content…
Whitman was jealous of the fact that we place God and religion on such a high pedestal and that we should stop feeding this belief that we are inadequate without God or religion. “We consider bibles and religions divine–I do not say they are not divine, I say they have all grown out of you, and may grow out of you still, It is not they who give the life, it is you who give the life, Leaves are not more shed from the trees, or trees from the earth, than they are shed out of you (A Song for Occupations 3).” This quote from another poem is consistent with what he’s said in all of the other poems and books, for us not to be too concerned about God. He stresses the fact that we’re the ones who are in control of everything. We’re the ones who build up these gods to be so powerful. It brings up the questions once again, if no one believes in God, will he still be powerful or almighty?
Whitman is a very educated man, wiser than many of his peers. He knew that when one is dealing with a powerful being or entity, you could not attack it head on; you have to start from the bottom up. By telling everyone to reexamine what they’ve heard he wants to instill