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 says in Section 20, “Having pried through the strata, analyzed to a hair, counsel'd with doctors and calculated close, I find no sweeter fat than sticks to my own” what?

2. The narrator asserts in Section 18 that “battles are lost in the same spirit in which” what?

3. The narrator claims “I do not trouble my spirit to vindicate itself or” what, in Section 20?

4. The narrator says in Section 14, “The press of my foot to the earth springs a hundred” what?

5. What does the narrator say he does “alone far in the wilds and mountains” in Section 10?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What comparison of women and men is made by the poet in Section 21?

3. What is Whitman’s conclusion regarding “failure” in Section 18?

4. What foreshadowing is exhibited in Section 1 of the poem? How is the universal “I” set up in this section?

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

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

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

8. How is “the negro” described in Section 13 of the poem?

9. What new journey does the poet embark upon beginning in Section 8 of the poem?

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 analyze the theme of “life and death” in Song of Myself.” Why does the poet consider the act of dying to be “lucky”? How is Death equated and compared with Life? What metaphors of death and life does the poet use to illustrate his points?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss Walt Whitman’s depictions of nature versus modernization, science, and technology. Do you think Whitman perceived science as being akin to spirituality? How did his viewpoints in the poem coincide with traditional thought?

(see the answer keys)

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