Sunday, March 6, 2011

"As Adam Early in the Morning"

Like many poems from Walt Whitman, "As Adam in the Morning" is no exception to Whitman's usual writing topics of Christianity, free verse, and the everyman, but he also implores sensuality in this explicit poem. The Adam fellow that is in this poem is clearly refering to Adam in the story of Adam and Eve, in which these two people are the first ones on Earth, and they are charged with the task of populating the planet. Although it is very short, being only one stanza, this poem is still able to capture Whitman's thoughts without shorting on emotions or passion. Some of the most commonly used themes from this great American poet are present yet again in "As Adam in the Morning." To start, free verse is, basically, the only way Whitman ever wrote his poetry. Rather than creating a beautiful rhyme scheme to complicate the word choice, Whitman wrote much of his poetry, like this, without regular patterns or rhymes, as if it were meant to be read as in a normal conversation. However, the passion is still strong because of the talk of sensuality and love between the speaker and an unknown recipient. Sexuality is a also a common theme in much of Whitman's writing, including his Leaves of Grass. Whitman addresses man's sensuality as being one of the most important driving forces for good in the world (Oliver). The last two lines of the poem, "Touch me, touch the palm of your hand to my body as I pass, Be not afraid of my body," (Whitman) illuminates the passion in Whitman's writing of this poem. Along with sensuality, Christianity is another common theme in pretty much all of Whitman's writing. Literally interpreted, Adam is the same Adam from the Garden of Eden, mainly because the name Adam is used in the title and beginning line. However, just like a lot of poetry in general, there is still another direction from which to view the poem because, in one line from "As Adam Early in the Morning," the speaker says, "behold me" (Whitman). True, this is something any mere mortal could declare, but "God" might be more likely to say a more pure command (Huff) than a humble Adam. This viewpoint would change the entire meaning of the last two lines from being of sensuality to being a Christian calling. The physical touching is a more obvious and popping explanation of the lines, but this new concept would make a more significant meaning of accepting God into your life. Finally, the everyman is an enormous concept that Whitman frequently touched upon. In this case, Adam is seen as the average person and so is the recipient of the speaker's message. Afterall, who could be better at representing the world than the one who helped start it, according to Christian beliefs? His ideals are very prominent in this poem from Leaves of Grass. This free verse poem, which includes the everyman concept, parts of Christianity, and sensual writing, includes characteristics that represent the renowned Walt Whitman.

Works Cited

Huff, Randall. "'As Adam Early in the Morning'." The Facts On File Companion to American Poetry, vol. 1. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2007. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. CPAP0028&SingleRecord=True. 6 Mar. 2011.

Oliver, Charles M. "'As Adam Early in the Morning'." Critical Companion to Walt Whitman: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work, Critical Companion. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2005. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. CCWW026&SingleRecord=True. 6 Mar. 2011.

Whitman, Walt. "As Adam Early in the Morning" for Leaves of Grass. The Walt Whitman Archive. Online. 6 Mar. 2011.

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