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To A Stranger Analysis

Author: Poetry of Walt Whitman Type: Poetry Views: 1091

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PASSING stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you,

You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me,

as of a dream,)

I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you,

All is recall'd as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate,

chaste, matured,

You grew up with me, were a boy with me, or a girl with me,

I ate with you, and slept with you--your body has become not yours

only, nor left my body mine only,

You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass--you

take of my beard, breast, hands, in return,

I am not to speak to you--I am to think of you when I sit alone, or

wake at night alone,

I am to wait--I do not doubt I am to meet you again,

I am to see to it that I do not lose you.10


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

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I actually think it is about a past life.
There are people who believes in past lifes, and that way it actually makes sense for me.
It is said that you spend your lifes with the same groups of souls, for example: your mom could have been your favorite cousin in a past life.
So it could mean he passes by a person who he knew and grew up with him, but he actually doesn't recall. He could have been a boy or a girl in a past life, and maybe they did not meet in this one, but maybe in the next life "I am to wait--I do not doubt I am to meet you again".

| Posted on 2017-09-06 | by a guest

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It's hard to come up with an analysis that covers all of Whitman's ideas and images.
However, I think it is interesting to view Whitman's stranger as his "natural self". A self that reflects on his life in solitude. A self that influence how he acts, both masculine and feminine characteristics. (Beard/Breasts- he/she)
He seeks knowledge and even more intimate intertwining of his two selves.

| Posted on 2014-12-16 | by a guest

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People bring to a poem their own experiences or imaginings so their interpretations are filtered through them. For example, I love horror in any genre, be it Poe or Barker or King or Lovecraft. I imagine this to be a serial killer who watches the plethora of potential victims from a seat at an outdoor cafe on a busy street in summer. It possesses a Hannibal Lecter flavor (no pun intended) - the educated psychopath with refined epicurean and aesthetic tastes.
Did Whitman intend this interpretation - most likely a zero possibility, but poems are not the poet's only. That's the beauty of verse. It reminds me of the Richard Wilbur poem, "The Beautiful Changes" with it's emphasis on mutability that enhances its subject and transforms it, adds to its depth.So, I like my interpretation, but realize, as anyone who approaches a poem, that it is subject to supportable evidence. I think a strong case can be made for mine, but not for, say, the view that the poem is about a businessman looking for clients. That interpretation lacks the thoughtful gravitas present in this poem or rather the affection implied by the speaker.

| Posted on 2014-02-19 | by a guest

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For me this is a more insightful way to view the neutral people in our lives; the people we pass on the street, and how we are not as seemingly disconnected from one another.

| Posted on 2013-09-21 | by a guest

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...your heart flutters when they walk by, there\'s something you want to say but you fear messing up so rather you stay quiet.the beauty of staying passive though is you can imagine whatever you want, and not ruin the idea of the person.

| Posted on 2013-03-11 | by a guest

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i believee the poem is about his kid who he cant talk to but sees passing by

| Posted on 2013-01-21 | by a guest

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Um, is that last person retarded? Way to ruin the poem for me, moron.

| Posted on 2012-05-23 | by a guest

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In my opinion, Whitman is addressing the stanger, the reader. It seems very fitting, and he has done it before in previous poems. I could be wrong, but that is how I see the poem.

| Posted on 2012-04-15 | by a guest

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in this poem i think he is talking about how in his childhood he has spent his time with this person for a while and then when they grew up they no longer talked but he still knows who he/she is but feels he/she no longer knows who he is so he just stairs at them from a far and is going to regain touch with them

| Posted on 2010-11-23 | by a guest

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IN this poem he elabortes hidden messages from several other poems he has written. He is clearly in my opion express a fantasy love he could have with someone. It could be that the narrator is talking about his wife. This is interesting

| Posted on 2010-08-31 | by a guest

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I love how he writes "she I was seeking" and "a girl with me" almost as an afterthought. This makes me think of Walt Whitman's believed homosexuality. I feel this is a poem about forbidden love. He cannot be in an open relationship with his lover but that does not mean he does not still hold him in his heart.

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

.: :.

hey peeps yerh its a cute sexy poem. its bout friendship and an expression of love. example sleeping with you and the feeling and touching moments loll. der horny

| Posted on 2010-02-14 | by a guest

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