Monday, March 14, 2011


Walt Whitman’s poems “One’s-Self I Sing” and “I Sing the Body Electric” along with Mary Shelly’s classic novel, Frankenstein, share a theme of unity. There are connections between all of creation.

The poem “One’s-Self I Sing” describes unity in a person’s own body. The body is not beautiful in parts. It is not worthy of being lauded if it is separated. But when the brain, anatomy, and personality are all combined, the human becomes something amazing. This is not limited only to men, but the beauty of being oneself is apparent in women. Each aspect of humankind’s composition is important in it’s own right, but when connected, a miracle occurs. Humans gain new passion, life, and power.

Walt Whitman continues with his celebration of the human body in the poem “I Sing the Body Electric.” The meaning of this poem is largely in the way it is written. Composed in free verse, a form that replaces end rhyme with rhythmic qualities through repetition of words, grammatical structures, etc. The poem first describes all the body parts found in all humans. They are listed in a long, monotonous index. The rhythm is relaxing and it is distracting to read all the parts. Later the rhythm picks up with the addition of women’s body parts, which contribute to reproduction and sustaining life. This is similar to the last poem. The body alone is essential but has no life. When soul and life is incorporated, a new liveliness and spirit is created.

The novel, Frankenstein, tells of Victor Frankenstein’s quest to find how to reverse death. He takes body parts from various corpses and mends them together. The resulting monster comes alive but was conceived from Frankenstein’s loneliness and seclusion from the rest of humanity. As the monster develops physically and mentally, he is missing a major component. He never has an opportunity to develop socially, an aspect missing since his creation. Although the monster has life, without all the pieces connected, he is still a monstrosity.

Back in February, I went to the play “Our Country is Good.” The play is based on the creation of Australia through the isolation of English criminals. The guards who are put in charge of the criminals decide to have the criminals put on a play. Acting in the play will help them realize their crimes and lead them on a road of self-improvement. The criminals forced to act in the play, begin to bond. When they were separate and isolated, they were nothing but criminals. Once they spent time forming relationships, they became a family.

Barbara Bush once said, “Cherish your human connections- your relationships with friends and family.” Not only is important to take care of relationships with other, but those within oneself. Maintaining all the connections of one’s life brings new passion, spirit, and humanity.

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