Song of Myself Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. The narrator states in Section 3, “I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the” what?

2. The poet claims in Section 24, “Copulation is no more rank to me than” what is?

3. In the conclusion of Section 6, the narrator states that “to die is different from what any one supposed, and” what?

4. What does the butcher-boy put off, according to the narrator in Section 12?

5. What does the narrator bring to the runaway slave when he encounters him in Section 10?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is signified by these lines from Section 1: “I loafe and invite my soul, / I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass”?

2. What “characters” does the poet embody in Section 10?

3. How does Section 13 begin? What is the focus of this section of the poem?

4. What Christian allusion can be seen in the opening of Section 21?

5. What does Walt Whitman praise and celebrate in Section 23 of the poem?

6. What motif reappears in Section 17? Why does the poet use this motif here?

7. What motif returns to the narrative in Section 6? How is this motif examined here?

8. How does the poet relate with the “wild gander” in Section 14?

9. How does the poet relate the quality of “aroma” and of the air in Section 2?

10. What is Whitman’s “advice” to the reader in Section 11 of the poem?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Describe and discuss the marriage of the trapper to the “red girl” in Section 10. What is the implied cultural history of the bride and her family? How does the poet describe the customs of the Native Americans in this section of the poem?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the sexual and sensual qualities of the poem “Song of Myself.” Where was the poem and the collection Leaves of Grass banned for its explicit depiction of human sexuality? When were these bans lifted? How did Whitman respond to his work being banned?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the setting of the country barn and the poet’s depiction of harvest time in Section 9. What is being loaded on the wagon and how what symbolism does this crop imply? How is the crop related to the other symbolic motifs in the poem?

(see the answer keys)

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