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There Was A Child Went Forth Analysis



Author: Poetry of Walt Whitman Type: Poetry Views: 1962







THERE was a child went forth every day;

And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became;

And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of

the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.



The early lilacs became part of this child,

And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and white and red

clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,

And the Third-month lambs, and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the

mare's foal, and the cow's calf,

And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire of the pond-

side,

And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there--and the

beautiful curious liquid,

And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads--all became part

of him.



The field-sprouts of Fourth-month and Fifth-month became part of

him;10

Winter-grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow corn, and the

esculent roots of the garden,

And the apple-trees cover'd with blossoms, and the fruit afterward,

and wood-berries, and the commonest weeds by the road;

And the old drunkard staggering home from the out-house of the

tavern, whence he had lately risen,

And the school-mistress that pass'd on her way to the school,

And the friendly boys that pass'd--and the quarrelsome boys,

And the tidy and fresh-cheek'd girls--and the barefoot negro boy and

girl,

And all the changes of city and country, wherever he went.



His own parents,

He that had father'd him, and she that had conceiv'd him in her womb,

and birth'd him,

They gave this child more of themselves than that;20

They gave him afterward every day--they became part of him.



The mother at home, quietly placing the dishes on the supper-table;

The mother with mild words--clean her cap and gown, a wholesome odor

falling off her person and clothes as she walks by;

The father, strong, self-sufficient, manly, mean, anger'd, unjust;

The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the crafty lure,

The family usages, the language, the company, the furniture--the

yearning and swelling heart,

Affection that will not be gainsay'd--the sense of what is real--the

thought if, after all, it should prove unreal,

The doubts of day-time and the doubts of night-time--the curious

whether and how,

Whether that which appears so is so, or is it all flashes and specks?

Men and women crowding fast in the streets--if they are not flashes

and specks, what are they?30

The streets themselves, and the faades of houses, and goods in the

windows,

Vehicles, teams, the heavy-plank'd wharves--the huge crossing at the

ferries,

The village on the highland, seen from afar at sunset--the river

between,

Shadows, aureola and mist, the light falling on roofs and gables of

white or brown, three miles off,

The schooner near by, sleepily dropping down the tide--the little

boat slack-tow'd astern,

The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, slapping,

The strata of color'd clouds, the long bar of maroon-tint, away

solitary by itself--the spread of purity it lies motionless in,

The horizon's edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh

and shore mud;

These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who now

goes, and will always go forth every day.





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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

I don\'t agree with the guest who said the commentators of this poem are jobless. this is basically the matter of priorities, if u r a literature lover u can never say such thought. the world of literary people is a different one where there is no room for such things. its a passionate study and build sensibilities which can not understood by common mind or in other words non literary mind.

| Posted on 2013-04-02 | by a guest


.: :.

I don\'t agree with the guest who said the commentators of this poem are jobless. this is basically the matter of priorities, if u r a literature lover u can never say such thought. the world of literary people is a different one where there is no room for such things. its a passionate study and build sensibilities which can not understood by common mind or in other words non literary mind.

| Posted on 2013-04-02 | by a guest


.: :.

what does perspectivism have to do with the child\'s perspective.. any idea? im a student :/

| Posted on 2012-11-15 | by a guest


.: :.

“There Was a Child Went Forth” is Walt Whitman’s rendition of how a child sees the world. The poem tours the reader through several details of the child’s environment: nature, people, family; and reinforces how these details become a “part of this child” as he looks upon them.
The title and first line of the poem--“There was a child went forth”--immediately set the the tone for the narrative: this is a special child, bravely embracing the world around him like a soldier charging into battle. The ensuing story glorifies and emphasizes the importance of this child’s impartial, undiscriminating mindset. The “first object” the child looks upon, “he [becomes].” Regardless of the form, content, or function of this object, the child incorporates it into himself, for “years,” potentially. Seemingly insignificant elements of nature older individuals would likely glean over, this child readily gives attention to: “early lilacs,” “the cow’s calf,” “the song of the phoebe-bird.” Youthful excitement for the surrounding world saturates this child’s life with meaning and wonder. Even the presentation of these objects mirrors that of a child’s : Whitman arranges them in a rambling, stream-of-consciousness series of “and’s” and “the’s.” One gets the feeling there could no be enough to describe, an endless procession of objects to fill and overfill the child’s heart. Whitman expresses fish in a pond as fish “[suspended curiously]” in a “[beautiful] curious liquid.” It is as if the child senses some great mystery behind the pond water--a mystery he could entertain himself with ad infinitum. People are given fresh and free recognition as well. The speaker lists “the schoolmistress,” “the old drunkard” “the barefoot negro boy and girl.” There is an equality of importance evident in the child’s conception of these individuals: “the’s” instead of “a’s” describe them, and Whitman presents a whole spectrum of types, genders and races. The child’s simple wisdom makes him a forerunner of social equality and unconditional acceptance.
The philosophy of late nineteenth century impressionists bore similarity to this child’s approach to the world around him. They were out to paint the world without depth or dimension or other corrupting influence; they wanted people to see it as it was: a series of colors. The child too, has an unrequited willingness to “see” the world, to take it for what it is. In doing so, the child “will always go forth every day,” assures Whitman. He will, as Thoreau once extolled, take “this bit of sod under [his] feet [as] the sweetest to [him] in this world--in any world.”

| Posted on 2011-04-25 | by a guest


.: :.

“There Was a Child Went Forth” is Walt Whitman’s rendition of how a child sees the world. The poem tours the reader through several details of the child’s environment: nature, people, family; and reinforces how these details become a “part of this child” as he looks upon them.
The title and first line of the poem--“There was a child went forth”--immediately set the the tone for the narrative: this is a special child, bravely embracing the world around him like a soldier charging into battle. The ensuing story glorifies and emphasizes the importance of this child’s impartial, undiscriminating mindset. The “first object” the child looks upon, “he [becomes].” Regardless of the form, content, or function of this object, the child incorporates it into himself, for “years,” potentially. Seemingly insignificant elements of nature older individuals would likely glean over, this child readily gives attention to: “early lilacs,” “the cow’s calf,” “the song of the phoebe-bird.” Youthful excitement for the surrounding world saturates this child’s life with meaning and wonder. Even the presentation of these objects mirrors that of a child’s : Whitman arranges them in a rambling, stream-of-consciousness series of “and’s” and “the’s.” One gets the feeling there could no be enough to describe, an endless procession of objects to fill and overfill the child’s heart. Whitman expresses fish in a pond as fish “[suspended curiously]” in a “[beautiful] curious liquid.” It is as if the child senses some great mystery behind the pond water--a mystery he could entertain himself with ad infinitum. People are given fresh and free recognition as well. The speaker lists “the schoolmistress,” “the old drunkard” “the barefoot negro boy and girl.” There is an equality of importance evident in the child’s conception of these individuals: “the’s” instead of “a’s” describe them, and Whitman presents a whole spectrum of types, genders and races. The child’s simple wisdom makes him a forerunner of social equality and unconditional acceptance.
The philosophy of late nineteenth century impressionists bore similarity to this child’s approach to the world around him. They were out to paint the world without depth or dimension or other corrupting influence; they wanted people to see it as it was: a series of colors. The child too, has an unrequited willingness to “see” the world, to take it for what it is. In doing so, the child “will always go forth every day,” assures Whitman. He will, as Thoreau once extolled, take “this bit of sod under [his] feet [as] the sweetest to [him] in this world--in any world.”

| Posted on 2011-04-25 | by a guest


.: :.

I\'m not American but like American poems.off course you know that Iranian poems are something and more deeper than this free verse.

| Posted on 2011-01-27 | by a guest


.: :.

this is a poem which talks of things each one of us has experienced as we grew up.

| Posted on 2011-01-12 | by a guest


.: :.

this entire poem revolves around a boy losing his innoscence and growing up

| Posted on 2011-01-09 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem means to me that this child is what he is surrounded by. He grows up to be what he has always known. Everything around him influences him in some way and a piece of every surrounding is left in him as he grows up.

| Posted on 2010-11-03 | by a guest


.: :.

its surprising that he being the great writer he is doesn't like all of his poem is most popualr poem O'captain My Captain was quote on quote the most horrible piece of work, i disagree, but i still think that it is a great poem. its just that this poem is far more greater.

| Posted on 2010-04-19 | by a guest


.: :.

theres non need to be so rude and if you dont like his stuff than dont read or comment on them plz.
hes great.
thanks all you guys:}
it really helps.

| Posted on 2010-04-18 | by a guest


.: :.

well the poem first talks about nature, then a school, his parents, the streets, the houses, and then nature again. because of that, i think that hes talking about how a child grew up. first he was a baby and one with nature all cool and calm. then he grew up and started going to school. then he was old enough to be disciplined for his actions by his parents. then he was let out into the streets to get his own house. then he retires and is cool and calm again with nature. :)

| Posted on 2010-04-08 | by a guest


.: :.

There Was a Child Went Forth⇗ by Walt Whitman illustrates his position as part of the new American Tradition and his desire to fulfill the call for a poet who sings the materials of America by Emerson. The poem is earthy and real: the emotion, events and perceptions are that of the average person. The lofty ideas presented within are approachable because they are part of the every-mans perception and life.
Walt Whitmans language is loose yet precise, varied but common, and it illustrates a perfect balance between the real and the artistic. The structure flows coalesces and begins to flow again while all the while remains a simple list-like form.
However ,within this list, he pulls and plays with emotions and moves from excitement into doubt and then to resolution to rescind all doubts. Doubt begins as the child moves from the pleasant natural world into the human world he is subjected to. The ills of the drunkard, the boys and his father manipulate the child and pushes him beyond the comfortable bounds of childhood and nature and forces him to deal with the negative aspects of human existence: the child moves from the tactile understanding of reality into the doubt of the mind. The permanency of emotion and the place of the individual within the group.
Finally, the real world intrudes again and the child leaves the mental world and resolves to enter the real world experiences the world as it is without being subjected to the existential doubts that flooded his mind as the world intruded on his excitement.

| Posted on 2009-12-08 | by a guest


.: :.

First of all, this is most definitely a Bildungsroman poem, providing a description of any one child's disillusioning transition from childhood to adulthood. It begins with a child living in the country - nature surrounds the child with good things (like flowers); nature is also a sign of innate goodness and innocence. As the poem procedes, the child grows, and moves from the country to a small town, to a city. The city is very industrialized, crowded, and corrupt. The child has gained knowledge, but he is not bad or corrupt...he is well-rounded, with a healthy skepticism.
Another aspect that you may want to note is Whitman's use of balanced pairs: mother/father, country/city, childhood/adulthood, etc.

| Posted on 2009-10-21 | by a guest


.: :.

Thanks for your comments, they're really useful for students like me.

| Posted on 2009-10-15 | by a guest


.: :.

As a teacher, a mother, a friend of mothers, a traveller on the planet, I found this poem to be a warnng that what a child experiences of good and bad stays with him or her for life, and we should, therefore be VERY careful concerning our own influence!

| Posted on 2009-09-24 | by a guest


.: :.

Witman is a very deep person and we have 2 b deep 2 understand him but sometimes being 2 deep makes ppl think ur pointless and stupid thats y if u think readin his poem is bein jobless den u might b right in a case when u didnt get d message and if u think he is deep then u r also right bcz he is.SO MY FELLOW FRNDS WITMAN IS A MAN OF PASSION SO MAKE FUN OF HIM AS LONG AS U RESPECT HIM AND GET D MESSAGE BCZ DAT WIL B FAIR ENOUGH.

| Posted on 2009-08-23 | by a guest


.: :.

Witman is a very deep person and we have 2 b deep 2 understand him but sometimes being 2 deep makes ppl think ur pointless and stupid thats y if u think readin his poem is bein jobless den u might b right in a case when u didnt get d message and if u think he is deep then u r also right bcz he is.SO MY FELLOW FRNDS WITMAN IS A MAN OF PASSION SO MAKE FUN OF HIM AS LONG AS U RESPECT HIM AND GET D MESSAGE BCZ DAT WIL B FAIR ENOUGH.

| Posted on 2009-08-23 | by a guest


.: :.

for the person who posted the last analysis ... iam surprised to see someone who reads walt whitman poems making fun of them and the people reading them too ...we r not jobless whoever u are .. iam just shocked
and this shows the person is just immature and playing .. so please RESPECT my friend !!

| Posted on 2009-08-23 | by a guest


.: :.

I'm pretty sure dat evey1 who commented on dis poem is JOBLESS.!!!!

| Posted on 2009-08-23 | by a guest


.: :.

i think its possible tha whitman was referring to life in the eyes of a child or a newly born baby how he memorized things for the first and how his childhood and neighborhood became a part of him , and so will affect his life in the future. And this poem might be referring to how whitman's childhood affected and played a role in his life today

| Posted on 2009-08-23 | by a guest


.: :.

ya'll got wayyyy to much tiime on yo hands to be writin all this nonsense.

| Posted on 2009-05-28 | by a guest


.: :.

Whitman discusses about the imagination of a child and how everything around him molds him to how he is now aas an adult. He made use of nature and everyday people that everyone feels impacted life (mother and father).

| Posted on 2008-11-30 | by a guest


.: :.

I think this means that whitman is reflecting on his childhood years by mentioning old images like the "friendy boys" and the "fresh-cheek'd girls" to show the innocence of life when young.

| Posted on 2008-10-28 | by a guest


.: o.o :.

Sorry to whoever wrote this, but this is a bit common sense =/ I would go a bit more in depth if you are actually trying to help people. And you should make it a tinge longer...

| Posted on 2008-04-30 | by a guest


.: Whitman's meaning :.

Whitman carefully transitions from his own personal life and relations with himself to his relationship with mother earth and nature. He combines the elements of nature with those of his soul comparing and contrasting the good and the bad.It is a very romanticism kind of idea. Whitman talks about the different elements that have shaped his life in his adulthood and the impact they will leave in the future. Whilst showing respect for nature and life and america Whitman describes his childhood a

| Posted on 2008-01-08 | by a guest




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