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I Saw In Louisiana A Live Oak Growing Analysis

Author: Poetry of Walt Whitman Type: Poetry Views: 1483

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I SAW in Louisiana a live-oak growing,

All alone stood it, and the moss hung down from the branches;

Without any companion it grew there, uttering joyous leaves of dark


And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of myself;

But I wonder'd how it could utter joyous leaves, standing alone

there, without its friend, its lover near--for I knew I could


And I broke off a twig with a certain number of leaves upon it, and

twined around it a little moss,

And brought it away--and I have placed it in sight in my room;

It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear friends,

(For I believe lately I think of little else than of them;)

Yet it remains to me a curious token--it makes me think of manly


For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there in Louisiana,

solitary, in a wide flat space,

Uttering joyous leaves all its life, without a friend, a lover, near,

I know very well I could not.


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

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Does Whitman, as a poet, utter 'joyous leaves'? What kind of leaves would we say that the chief American poet utters?

| Posted on 2015-04-27 | by a guest

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I took from the poem that he sees a reflection of himself in nature which leads him to an understanding of himself, particularly an understanding of what makes him happy, which most people in this world could not tell you what that is for them, which is truly sad.
-Highschool student

| Posted on 2010-11-10 | by a guest

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I am only a high school student, I am not a professional. I wrote the comment above for a discussion for my American lit class. Please give me feedback or delete it or something...

| Posted on 2009-01-30 | by a guest

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In "I saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing," Whitman reveals much about his connection with nature, as well as more personal ideas. He shows himself as a romantic poet by thinking of the the beauty of the earth and as well as the earth's feelings: "utter joyous leaves, standing alone there" (5). Although we have not learned much about modernism yet, from what I understand, modernism introduces more abstract and creative ideas not limited to nature or a specific subject. I think Whitman creates more modernist ideas with introducing the friendship that nature has. Whitman not only depicts Nature as physically like humans, but emotionally like humans, sharing the ability for relationships and feelings. The feelings of the tree in this poem also connects to the speaker. He speaks of his love and friendships in his life. It is curious as well to discern what type of love he describes. There is a possibility that Whitman describes either a deep friendship with another man or possibly more: "It makes me think of manly love" (12). He also choses to refer to his love interest as his "lover" without offering any description or elaboration. In this time especially, this form of love did not prove as acceptable to the general public. He says, "without a friend, its lover near--for I knew I could not;" meaning he could not see his "lover" (15). For this reason, Whitman describes the speaker of the poem sadly remaining alone as the tree stands alone as well.

| Posted on 2009-01-30 | by a guest

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