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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"We Two Boys Together Clinging"

This is most likely the easiest poem to understand from Whitman's collection, but having a criticism to back me up is still retty nice. In "We Two Boys Together Clinging," a dynamic duo of young boys goes parading through various towns of the North and the South, taking part in numerous loud and obnoxious activities such as dringking, thieving, and enjoying public power; all the time, the boys never left each other's side (Whitman). Then, however, with the last line, the speaker reveals that the two boys are homosexual and that they have been marauding places for food and to see the shocked faces of the people when they recognize their homosexuality (Oliver). Normally, Whitman would write about the "self" or the "everyman," but I do not believe either of these are strongly involved in "We Two Boys Together Clinging." The story itself is not really self-enhancing because the speaker does not refer to anything that sets up a sense of fulfillment. The boys merely travel from location to location, scrounging for food and laughs, but they do not lead full lives. In fact, their lives are hallow and lacking, and they should be, at least, trying to build a solid relationship with each other to base their adventures less on necessity and more on friendship. The "everyman," however, is slightly prevelant in the people the boys visit, like the priests, because religion was a large basis for the lives of the common citizen (Whitman). Men worked for food or money and took their family to church every week. Society, also, is extremely important in this poem because of the places the boys go. The reactions of the regular people are presumably over the top if the boys get so much joy out of watching them. In the real world's society, homosexuality was not so highly viewed because it was so radically different, like how African Americans were only beginning the fight for equality in rights, schooling, and freedom. But, still, homosexual rights are not even established today to the fullest. There are still many active social groups for the advancement of homosexuals, so it is obvious that these boys in "We Two Boys Together Clinging" do not receive equal treatment because of the reactions of the public. Now, seeing that I have exhausted every topic that has come into my mind, I would like to say that this poem, "We Two Boys Together Clinging" is actually a decent poem. True, it has not rhyme scheme or purpose for its writing, but I like the boldness of the topic. Homosexuality is hardly ever a topic in works we cover in an English class. Whitman captured the real reason behind why the boys were traveling so much in a "beating around the bush" kind of way, too. Also, I had to think a little, but no too much, to figure out that the boys were gay and that they were literally loving each other like the story says, and not just dancing through life in a lovely fashion.


Works Cited

Oliver, Charles M. "'We Two Boys Together Clinging'." 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. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= CCWW566&SingleRecord=True. 02 Mar. 2011.

Whitman, Walt. "We Two Boys Together Clinging. (Leaves of Grass [1891-1892])." The Walt Whitman Archive. Ed. Ed Folsom and Kenneth M. Price. 1995. Web. 02 Mar. 2011. .

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